YES Gain a Loss for MSG, TechTV

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

As the fledgling Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network continued its
efforts to strike a carriage deal with Cablevision Systems Corp. last week,
Madison Square Garden Network and TechTV found themselves riding the pine in
some parts.

The upstart sports channel took the place of MSG or TechTV in the lineups of
several New York-area Cox Communications Inc., Tele-Media Corp. and Comcast
Corp. systems.

Cablevision-owned MSG -- which lost the rights to New York Yankees Major
League Baseball games to YES last fall -- is expected to lose about 300,000
subscribers to the upstart channel in several Cox and Tele-Media systems,
according to sources.

A Cox spokeswoman said the MSO's 100,000 mostly Connecticut subscribers no
longer receive MSG because of its recent agreement to carry YES.

'We wanted to preserve the Yankees coverage for our subscribers,' she said,
adding that the MSO would increase its basic rate by $2 per month despite
dropping MSG.

Representatives from Tele-Media did not return calls by press time, but the
MSO is expected to phase out MSG in June, according to The Hartford
Courant
.

Tele-Media still plans to raise the price for its basic service by as much as
$2.50, the newspaper reported.

Adelphia Communications Corp. is also expected to drop MSG for YES.

MSG's carriage agreements with Cox, Adelphia and Tele-Media expired at the
end of 2001.

An MSG Networks spokesman confirmed the subscriber losses but said the
programmer would continue to negotiate with all parties to work out new carriage
commitments.

The network is not proposing to increase its approximately $1.75- to
$2-per-subscriber licensing fee for at least two years, although it has added
several original shows and sports-news reports in an effort to create a 24-hour
service and replace the Yankees.

It also moved 50 New York Mets games to MSG from co-owned regional sports
service Fox Sports New York.

TechTV is also feeling the squeeze, having lost 300,000 subscribers on
Comcast systems, mostly in northern and central New Jersey.

Related