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NY Attorney General Snares $76 Million in Rebates/Credits for State's Sports Channel Subscribers

Letitia James

 New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office helped return about $76 million in rebates, credits or refunds to cable subscribers in the state for sports programming they did not receive because of the pandemic, which limited play for many professional sports leagues last year.

Last April, James sent letters to various MVPDs across the state asking for rebates or credits for consumers who did not receive the sports programming they paid for. Last year, the NBA, NHL, MLS and MLB all suspended or shortened their seasons because of the pandemic. Operators were negotiating with sports programmers concerning rebates for fees they paid for programming that wasn’t delivered. Those operators all had pledged to pass on those rebates to their customers either through rebates or credits. 

Also read: Altice USA Talking to Sports Nets About Rebates

Most operators have returned the money through credits. Altice USA said in its annual report that it expected to issue about $1.26 in credits to each customer relating to credits it received. Charter Communications said it recognized about $218 million in credits from sports leagues in Q3 that it intended to pass on to customers.

Attorney General James said that in New York state, 4 million customers of seven cable operators received a total of $76 million in rebates, refunds and credits. Those operators are: Altice USA, Charter, Comcast, AT&T, Dish Network, RCN and Verizon. 

“After a year where so many have suffered the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19, my office is proud to announce approximately $76 million that has been delivered directly to New Yorkers,” James said in a press release. “No one should be forced to pay for something they aren’t receiving, especially during a pandemic that has impacted the finances of millions across our state. I’m glad that these seven cable and satellite companies are doing the right thing by delivering substantial relief to consumers. New Yorkers can trust that I will always fight to protect their wallets.”

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.