Cablevision blasts back at Yanks


Cablevision Systems Corp. made Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network an offer it can't accept, but one that attempts to make the MSO the nice guy in the carriage
dispute over the network.

In a letter to YES CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr., Cablevision president Jim Dolan offered
to make the network a pay channel on all of its metro New York systems, while
letting the network keep 100 percent of the subscription revenue. But YES, and not
Cablevision, would set the retail price.

Dolan said he wants to give his customers access to New York Yankees games,
but he doesn't want to force all of his basic-cable customers to pay YES'
$2-per-month license fee.

Dolan called the offer "extraordinary and unprecedented."

YES had not responded at press time, but the deal is dramatically counter to
the company's financial plan.

Pay-sports networks require heavy spending on marketing, trigger massive
churn at the end of the baseball season and depress ad sales by limiting the
viewing of TV surfers who aren't big enough fans to subscribe to the pay

Plus, YES would have to offer the same deal to every other MSO in the market
with a "most-favored-nation" clause.