The YES Network, frustrated by the fact that it can not be seen in three million metropolitan area households in New York served Cablevision with a suit in federal court in Manhattan yesterday. YES accused Cablevision of violating antitrust laws, by illegally using its power as an owner of both cable systems and sports networks like MSG and Fox Sports New York to deny YES’s Yankees games to its subscribers.
Leo J. Hindery Jr., YES’s chairman, who said he had waited to file suit until he was sure that Cablevision would not agree to terms accepted by any cable systems and DirecTV. Because of this Cablevision subscribers are very upset due to the fact that they have missed 22 Yankees games on YES’s prod casting station so far this season.
Cablevision said yesterday that the lawsuit was “without merit.” On the other hand from YES’s perspective they stated that the “latest ploy is 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 chance of seeing a game before the All-Star break is not likely,” said David Boies, the lawyer representing YES, who was the lead counsel in the federal antitrust case against Microsoft and directed Al Gore’s legal strategy in Florida after the 2000 election.
Many of the Yankees fans for the past 13 years have been use to watching their team on MSG, which lost the team’s TV rights after last season. The lawsuit unfortunately was of no use, because YES failed to persuade Cablevision to pay a monthly fee of $2 a subscriber and to show Yankees games on its expanded basic tier. The lawsuit also said Cablevision used monopoly power and gained through acquiring cable systems with 950,000 subscribers from 1997 to 2001 and through acquiring Madison Square Garden in 1997 – to discriminate against YES for the benefit of MSG, which was weakened by losing rights to the Yankees, and FSNY.
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YES is seeking unspecified damages, which would be tripled if it prevails in court, as well as an order for Cablevision to divest its interests in regional sports programming and its recent cable acquisitions. On Thursday, Cablevision is expected to disclose how many subscribers it has lost to DirecTV. It the satellite programmer that the figure is 30,000 to 50,000. Cablevision executives say the defections have been minimal.
Key Concepts-Yes (which is a cable provider)losses three million of it’s customers due to the fact that Cablevision has cut off there service in three million metropolitan area households in New York. And now a law suite is issued against Cablevision.
My Opinion- To me the fact that that many people are with out America’s favorite sport would hurt. Although I’m no too much of a baseball fan, many of the three million of the viewers will have to go with out not watching there beloved America’s favorite sport baseball.
Source- New York Times , April 30,2002, Business Place, By DAVID LEONHARDT