Foul ball, say cable ops

New York Yankees' new net is asking $2 per sub per month

New York area cable operators are unhappy about the price tag for the Yankees' new YES sports network but say they will probably still wind up carrying the network.

The new Yankee Entertainment Service cable channel is demanding $2 per sub monthly. That's high even by regional-sports-network standards. YES channel chief Leo Hindery has cut deals with DirecTV and overbuilder RCN, but, so far, no major metro-New York cable operator has signed up.

A spokesman for Time Warner Cable said that "we expect we will be able to reach a deal" and that the system wouldn't raise rates this year, but would not comment on specifics.

Cablevision, which lost Yankees rights for its MSG Network, is still pushing to sell YES as a pay network. Cablevision notes that even its own networks are available

à la carte on 60% of its own systems. "It's extremely expensive programming," said a Cablevision spokesman. "We look forward to carrying the Yankees but think our customers are entitled to a choice."