YES Network/Comcast Impasse Continues, Sides Are Not Talking

Township residents who are New York Yankees’ fans and who are Comcast customers may be out of luck this season if the two companies can’t come to an agreement.

Township residents who are subscribers to the Comcast/Xfinity cable service and who are fans of the New York Yankees may be out of luck this season if they want to watch games on the YES Network.

That’s because YES and Comcast Corp. have not reached a deal on Comcast carrying the network, with the start of the 2016 pre-season just days away. Comcast dropped YES last November, claiming  that the per-user fee YES was demanding was too high.

The two sides weren’t even talking as of Feb. 16, said Comcast spokesman John Demming.

“But you never know, anything could happen,” he said.

The issue is the amount of money the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network – which is primarily owned and managed by 21st Century Fox – wants to charge for each of Comcast’s roughly 900,000 users in the region.

It’s too much for the number of their subscribers who actually watch Yankees games, Demming said.

“YES Network carried approximately 130 baseball games this past season and well over 90 percent of our 900,000 plus customers who receive YES Network didn’t watch the equivalent of even one quarter of those games during the season, even while the Yankees were in the hunt for a playoff berth,” Demming wrote in an email. “Viewership of the network in the baseball offseason is even lower.”

“YES Network is the most expensive RSN (Regional Spots Network) according to SNL Kagan,” Demming wrote. “The issue was the price/value proposition for the YES network given the customer viewership data we have, which did not justify the price that FOX was asking for the network.”

SNL Kagan, now known as S&P Global market Intelligence, is business analytical firm which follows the media and communications industries.

A spokesman for 21 Century Fox/YES did not respond to a request for comment, but in November, the company posted their side of the story in an online statement.

“Comcast’s reputation for poor customer satisfaction is well known, but this surprise development represents a new low,” the statement reads. “YES and Comcast reached an agreement 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 NYCFC seasons and into the Nets season.

“Unfortunately, because YES will not yield to Comcast’s demands for special treatment, Comcast has decided to drop YES Network and its coverage of the NY Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and the New York City FC.” the statement reads. “THIS IS NOT ABOUT MONEY. Comcast already agreed to pay the market rate. This is about a company that wants to eliminate all competition by receiving all the benefits of a contract without respecting any of the obligations.”

The company did not elaborate on its charge that Comcast wants to eliminate all competition.

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