The contract between SNY, home to the New York Mets, and the Dish Network ended at midnight without renewal and the regional sports network is presently not on Dish's air.
The expiration of the multiyear contract threatens the ability of Dish customers in SNY's broadcast territory to watch the team's 2011 season opener against the Florida Marlins tonight at 7 p.m. (ET).
Dish said negotiations continue between the parties, and offered this take on the proceedings: "Regional sports channels like SportsNet NY have become one of the pay-TV industry's fastest-growing expenditures, making our negotiations with content providers increasingly difficult. Our customers are our No. 1 priority, and they look to us to offer the most channel choices and compelling programming, all at the best value. That's why we work hard for fair deals. Unfortunately, the contract with SNY expired at midnight, March 31 before we were able to reach fair terms for continued carriage. We assure our customers that we are committed to working toward a fair agreement that reflects the value of the channel."
SNY issued this statement: "Dish Network continues to abandon New York sports fans, now dropping SNY and denying fans SNY's exclusive coverage of the Mets, Jets and Big East Conference. To find out how to easily switch to a new provider and keep SNY, fans can call 888-9-KEEPSNY or visit www.keepsny.com."
SNL Kagan estimates SNY's monthly subscriber license fee at $2.20. However, some market observers maintain this disconnect has nothing to do with price, but rather a retreat by Dish from the New York RSN game.
With SNY on the bench, Dish no longer offers any of the New York metro area's four RSNs: the No. 2 DBS provider has never reached an affiliate pact with YES, the TV home to the New York Yankees, and has not been carrying MSG Network and MSG Plus since contracts with those services expired last Oct. 1.
Asked if Dish wants to be part of the Big Apple RSN scene, a Dish spokeswoman replied: "To be clear, we are completely open to carrying RSNs in the NY market, and have been in talks with other RSNs in the area like YES." She added there were no announcements to that end at this juncture.
For its part, YES faces its own contract deadline with the top DBS provider: its contract with DirecTV ends April 2 at midnight.
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