Originally posted by Kevin
If a cable/satellite provider doesn't want to carry a channel, they don't have to! There's nothing in the Constitution or any law that says that it's a natural right to have Yankees games available at no extra cost. I have a feeling that this court case will get nowhere at all!
Of course it's not in the Constitution, but we do have antitrust laws banning anticompetitive practices. Cablevision owns 2 regional sports networks (MSG + Fox Sports NY), and is refusing to air a competitor. Also, YES is controlled by YankeesNets, which also owns the Nets and Devils. YES Network will be airing these teams when their current broadcast contracts (with Cablevision-owned FSNY) end. Cablevision owns the Knicks and Rangers. By not carrying YES, they are refusing to air the games of the teams they don't own, in favor of the ones they do own. It's not just sports, either. They refuse to carry Robert Redford's Sundance Channel because they own Independent Film Channel.
Here's what makes Cablevision's practices illegal. They take the networks that they own (in particular, MSG, FSNY, AMC and Bravo) and mandate that other cable companies carry them on basic. When the shoe's on the other foot (YES mandating the same thing), they say that would be unfair to their customers.
They complain that it would be unfair to raise everyone's bill to carry YES when some people wouldn't want the channel. Meanwhile, customers of Time Warner, Comcast, and all other carriers have to pay for Bravo and MSG even if they don't want them. They say that a $1.85 increase would be unfair, yet they have raised rates without abandon for years, presumably because they have to pay for all of that programming they are forced to carry.
That is a blatant violation of antitrust laws.
While I'm venting, I have to say that everything the Dolans (Cablevision's controlling family) touch turns to s***. Charles Dolan is a true pioneer who helped create the cable business. But that was a long time ago. He created HBO, which in the early days was the main reason people got cable. Back then, HBO had no competition. There was no Blockbuster to rent movies. Heck, there were no VCR's yet. If you missed a movie in the theater, you had to wait for the networks to show it. HBO changed all that, and HBO became synonymous with cable. Dolan built an empire around HBO and Cablevision. Then he sold HBO. Things haven't been the same since.
Here's their track record in recent years:
They bought Madison Square Garden, the Knicks, the Rangers, MSG Network, and Radio City Music Hall. The arenas themselves are solid investments (even though they did overpay). They let son/heir James Dolan run the sports teams. The results are embarrassing. The Rangers have the league's highest payroll, yet have missed the playoffs for the past 5 years. To turn things around, he is hiring a new coach, Bryan Trottier, who was a legendary player for the Islanders. Rangers fans hate the Islanders more than they hate Bin Laden. Brilliant PR move, Jim.
The Knicks have gone from contenders to jokes in just 2 years, thanks to a series of awful trades and contracts that have left them with salary cap problems that will take years to fix. They just completed their first of what will be numerous non-playoff seasons.
Their MSG Network had the broadcast rights to the Yankees, the most lucrative regional broadcasting property in the world. When the contract was expiring, they were offered a renewal deal. They thought it was too expensive, so they passed. They expected a counter-offer. Instead, the Yankees said they would form their own network. The rest is history (actually, it's current events).
They introduced digital cable to great fanfare, spending millions to do so. Then they had massive delays in getting enough digital boxes to hook up customers. Once they finally got it going, the customers found software glitches that would render the things useless. This on top of paying an extra $30 per month for the digital service. Customers have returned their boxes in droves. Almost half the customers that went digital have cancelled.
They bought the bankrupt Wiz chain of electronic stores, hoping they could use it to sell their products. It continues to lose millions.
They paid millions at auction for cellular phone licenses with the intent to introduce cellular services. This in the most competive and oversaturated market in the country. Needless to say, they haven't proceeded.
There are other anecdotes, but you get the point. Proof is in the pudding--stock price continues to hit new lows. This is a company headed toward serious financial trouble.