As expected, Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network filed an antitrust
suit against Cablevision Systems Corp. Monday for 'blocking the distribution of
'I'd prayed that this day would never come, but it is now obvious that
Cablevision, which has a history of anti-competitive behavior, hopes to run YES
out of business and restore and protect its own stranglehold over local sports,'
YES chairman and CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr. said.
YES filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York using its counsel, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP.
Antitrust attorney David Boies -- who also represents EchoStar Communications Corp., and who represented the U.S. government during the Microsoft Corp. trial -- said: 'Cablevision is misusing its control of
cable access to 3 million households in the New York area to harm YES and to
provide an anti-competitive advantage to its own regional sports networks,
Madison Square Garden [Network] and Fox Sports New York.'
Boies added, 'Cablevision's conduct is an attempt to monopolize the
sports-programming market, and it is part of the company's continuing pattern of
abuse of its monopoly position. This limits viewer choices, and it prevents YES
from competing on a level playing field.'
At the $2-per-subscriber rate YES is charging, the network is losing $6
million each month that Cablevision refuses to carry the network on an
Cablevision offered to carry YES on a pay tier, but YES
rejected that offer.
'Cablevision remains committed to offering Yankee games to our customers who
want them, and the best way to achieve that is through negotation, not
litigation,' the MSO said in a prepared statement.
'This lawsuit is entirely without merit, and it is the YES Network's latest
ploy to pressure Cablevision into accepting an expensive, `take-it-or-leave it'
demand that is not in the best interests of all our customers,' the company