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Volume 25 No. 196
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YES Network Tonight Could Go Dark On Comcast Systems In Northeast

YES Network could go dark at midnight tonight on Comcast systems in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania following an impasse in negotiations between Comcast and Fox Sports, which owns YES. The deal actually expired several months ago during the early stages of the Yankees season. The two sides reached a series of temporary extensions during the baseball season.

The negotiating leverage now, though, favors Comcast. The Yankees season ended in October, and the Nets have stumbled to a 1-7 start. Nets ratings in the N.Y. market so far this season have been tiny. The team is averaging a 0.27 rating through the first two weeks of the season. By comparison, the crosstown rival Knicks are averaging a 1.71 rating on MSG Network for the same time period.

Comcast confirmed that its carriage deal with YES expires tonight. Comcast’s said viewership, even during baseball season, isn’t high. "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. Viewership of the network in the baseball offseason is even lower. Fox and the Yankees are asking all of our customers to pay them hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years to continue receiving the channel. The price Fox and the Yankees are requiring from our customers is not acceptable given the network’s minimal viewership, which is why we have decided we can no longer justify continuing to carry the Network. YES simply does not present an appropriate price-value proposition for our customers.”

 The net is taking an aggressive public stance.

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