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YES Sues Time Warner Over Carriage

Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network last Friday afternoon sued Time Warner Cable for breach of contract, following the MSO's July 29 move to give its New York-area customers the option to drop the service and save $1 on their monthly cable bill.

Filed in the Supreme Court of New York County, the suit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting the "negative repositioning" of YES, and would make Time Warner live up to its obligations under its affiliation agreement to continue to distribute the network on "standard" expanded basic, as opposed to "standard plus," which costs $1 extra per month with the "à la carte addition of YES."

In a prepared statement, the sports network, home to New York Yankees regular-season Major League Baseball games and New Jersey Nets National Basketball Association action, said that Time Warner is in "violation of its affiliate agreements with YES as a result of its recent action to negatively reposition" the service. "We believe that this action is not allowed under the 'most favored nation' clause."

Time Warner Cable officials could not be reached by press time. It was unclear if MSO executives had been served with the document.

It was unclear how many Time Warner subscribers have dropped YES since they were afforded that choice. A source familiar with the situation, though, labeled the defections as "minimal."

Should YES lose Time Warner customers, Cablevision Systems Corp. — which had a protracted carriage battle with the network in 2002 — under the terms of an interim agreement reached in March, would indemnify the regional sports network for revenue reductions, due to subscriber subtractions and legal fees for a year.