If your cable television provider is Comcast, you are no longer able to watch the Yankees, Brooklyn Nets or the New York FC soccer club on YES network since last November. This shocking announcement (for Yankee fans in particular) was made at that time “Unfortunately, because YES will not yield to Comcast’s demands for special treatment and anti-competitive terms, Comcast has decided to drop YES Network.”
Comcast has blacked out YES in certain areas of North Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and negotiations have reached an impasse, both sides said. Approximately 900,000 cable customers are affected. According to the New York Post, YES has been seeking a 33 percent fee increase. Comcast, which did not disclose the increase being sought, called it “not acceptable.” Note that FOX now owns 80 percent of YES, while the Yankees control the rest.
Comcast has cited low ratings for Yankees games as part of its reasoning for taking a hard line with the network. Comcast said the price-point is too high and the network is asking for hundreds of millions of dollars from customers.
Comcast said “over 90 percent of our 900,000 plus customers who receive YES Network didn’t watch the equivalent of even one quarter of those [130 baseball] games.
On its website, YES provided this explanation:
“YES and Comcast reached an agreement in principle on the key points of a new contract many months ago, and YES continued to operate in good faith under that arrangement through the entire Yankees and NYC FC seasons and into the Nets season. YES has been the dominant sports network in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area for most of the past 12 years, and its Yankees telecasts are often some of the most popular programming in the New York area. In fact, YES is the most watched regional sports network in the country, and is consistently more popular than all of the sports networks that Comcast owns and operates. YES Network’s proposals are not only reasonable, they are in line with agreements already secured with other major pay-TV providers within the marketplace.”
What can a fan do? YES is still carried by other North Jersey providers, but Comcast customers have only the satellite service DirecTV to turn to. Based on press reports, thousands are waiting to see if Comcast retreats as Spring training begins in just a few weeks, and the impact of major subscriber loss is felt by the giant cable company.
The video covers the history of the YES Network.