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SBD/April 1, 2011/MLB Season Preview
YES Network, DirecTV Face Friday Deadline For Renewal Of Carriage Deal
Published April 1, 2011
NO CALLS TO KEEP QUIET: Mets TV play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen said he does not feel "one iota of pressure" about broadcasting the team's games this season on SportsNet N.Y. amid the ongoing off-field issues facing the team. Cohen: "I don't think it will be different for me at all. I'm a baseball broadcaster and we're going to be broadcasting a season of baseball beginning Friday night." In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes Cohen is "not oblivious to what's going on with the Wilpons," as he "outlined the Madoff situation early in the first spring training broadcast on SNY." The situation also was "discussed during subsequent spring training telecasts." Cohen said of his broadcast partners Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, "We have no muzzles on us. All three of us feel free to express opinions on what we feel strongly about. The problem here is you're talking about a subject we don't have any expertise in." Raissman writes viewers during SNY's coverage of Friday's Mets-Marlins game can "expect Cohen to present an overview of ownership's financial situation and all relevant developments." Raissman: "There will be more questions as the days of this season pass and spring turns into summer. The only certainty here is that the story of the Wilpons, Madoff and Irving Picard ain't going away anytime soon" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/1).
NO PROGRESS ON PADRES PICK-UP: In San Diego, Mike Freeman notes some Padres fans are "frustrated that cable's monopoly on carrying the games locally remains in place despite 10 months of negotiations between Cox Communications and rival pay TV providers." Cox is "in the final year of a 10-year exclusive TV rights deal with the ballclub in San Diego County," and the MSO broadcasts 140-145 games annually on Channel 4 San Diego. Cox "licenses Channel 4 to Time Warner Cable and a few other small cable systems who aren't direct competitors," but "for years it refused to provide the content to head-to-head rivals DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse." Regulators last year "closed the loophole" that allowed that to happen, and Cox "announced in June that it would enter talks with DirecTV, Dish and AT&T." But "since then, most involved have been mum about the talks." Local subscribers to AT&T's U-Verse and satellite TV services "had gotten their hopes up that a deal would be reached by opening day," but now they "feel let down" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/1).