New York AG Wants MVPDs to Refund Subs for Missing Sports

New York Attorney General Letitia James has called on cable and satellite carriers serving the state to cut consumers a break on their bills by reducing or eliminating the portions assigned to live sports programming since there really isn't any. 

Related: ESPN Cancels X Games 

The letters went to Altice USA, AT&T Inc., Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, DISH Network, RCN Corporation, and Verizon. She wants the MVPDs to provide “appropriate refunds, discounts and reductions of charges and fees, payment deferrals, and waiver of termination fees, at least until live sports programming is resumed.”  

In one of the letters, James said it is "simply inappropriate for New Yorkers to be burdened by high costs for services that cable providers are not able to deliver, and programming that is a mere vestige of what has been expected. Reducing those burdens is not only legally and practically appropriate, it is clearly the right thing to do." 

She said she did want to hear the argument that cable contracts don't guarantee any particular service, so there is no guaranteed of live programming. "[T]hese contractual provisions did not envision the current situation," she said, which is that an entire category of key programming is now AWOL. 

For its part, Dish is looking to ESPN, the 800 pound gorilla pf live sports rights, for help, reportedly trying to refund customers with money it withholds from the sports programmer, given Dish has paid for a live sports net with very little live sports--outside of the odd HORSE game or remote eating contest. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.