Comcast Blacks Out YES Network, Nets

Comcast dropped the YES Network at Midnight Tuesday night in a dispute over carriage fees.

A carriage agreement expired several months ago. The two sides agreed to a couple of extensions during the baseball season before the latest deadline on Tuesday.

The Yes Network, owned by 21st Century Fox, showed a Brooklyn Nets baseball game before subscribers lost the channel.

About 900,000 subscribers are affected.

Regional sports networks, like YES, are among the most expensive channels on cable.

In a statement, YES said Comcast gave subscribers no advance notification about the impending blackout.

“Comcast’s reputation for poor customer satisfaction is well known, but this surprise development represents a new low,” YES said in a statement. “YES and Comcast reached an agreement in principle 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 NYC FC seasons and into the Nets season. Unfortunately, because YES will not yield to Comcast’s demands for special treatment and anti-competitive terms, Comcast has decided to drop YES Network and its its coverage of the NY Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and the New York City FC.”

YES is encouraging viewers to check its website,, for updates.

Comcast carries YES in Northern New Jersey, parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

"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,” Comcast said in a statement. “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.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.