Mets Thrown Out at Home


New York Mets fans who subscribe to Time Warner Cable are currently out of luck now that the MSO has had to pull Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Fox Sports New York and Madison Square Garden Network sports networks from its area systems. The move came Saturday night after carriage negotiations between the two sides broke down.

The regional sports nets went dark at midnight, July 31. Time Warner says Cablevision refused to agree to a contract extension -- which the two sides have done several times since late last year -- to keep the networks on air.

Along with the two sports nets, Cablevision is said to be seeking carriage for its Metro Channels, something Time Warner wants to negotiate separately.

"Time Warner Cable has pulled the plug on its own customers, denying sports fans some of New York's most valued and popular sports programming," MSG Networks President Mike McCarthy said in a statement. That includes Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Liberty (WNBA) and Metrostars (MLS Soccer) games.

McCarthy says Cablevision has offered Time Warner "fair and reasonable rates," 30 percent below what Time Warner pays per subscriber to the YES Network (The Yankees), or about $1.80 per subscriber. His statement didn't include any mention of the Metro Channels.

This is only the latest carriage fight between the two cable companies.

Last fall, they exchanged law suits over Time Warner's carriage of Cablevision-owned AMC.  And, last December, when the sports networks last carriage deal expired, Time Warner said  it has received letters from Cablevision threatening to sue for copyright infringement if, in the absence of a new deal, Time Warner continues to carry the networks after Dec. 31. The networks have been available under short-term extensions since then.

As for the latest round, Time Warner said Monday in a statement: "Cablevision has demanded unprecedented rates for programming that continues to diminish in value." Time Warner promised to rebate customers $2 per month while the networks stay off.

No word when the two companies will resume talks.

For fans who need a quick fix, Time Warner says WPIX New York will carry Sunday's Mets game against the Atlanta Braves.