That huge money advantage the New York Yankees franchise once had because of the enormous amount of dollars coming from the YES Network over everyone else in baseball no longer exists. Of course as soon as YES Network contacts are done with local MSOs like Cablevision, Time Warner and Comcast, YES can just jack up the price and justify the hike by saying "we are the Yankees." The Yankees franchise will get back to the top of the perch but regional cable networks are demanding a lot of money and are getting it from MSOs.
Time Warner and Comcast don't have to deal with MSOs like Time Warner and Comcast because they have partial ownership of the Mets-SNY channel. But Time Warner will have to deal with Cablevision at some point soon on SNY carriage renewal and that will be a battle of the heavyweights. The cable TV deals that could come between SNY and MSOs may keep the Wilpon family financially afloat in their quest to keep the Mets franchise in the Wilpon-Katz family portfolio.
Sports teams, sports leagues, sports organizations like the International Olympic Committee need more and more money for operating expenses. The easiest place to get that cash today is cable TV. Very few communities are going to build new stadiums and the business community is tapped out for big ticket items (although you would never know that with the corporate love that Dolan's Knicks get). Cable TV is the place where money can be made and no one has put the brakes to rising rates.
The Time Warner-Cablevision battle will go on and there will be a predictable pattern to the talks. Politicians will get involved and pressure the Dolans over at Cablevision to work out a deal with the Time Warner brass to keep sports fans happy. There will be jawboning in public which seems scripted from a wrestling script and eventually both sides will reach an agreement because they are concerned about their customers.
The bills will go up but there will not be a breakdown of real costs to the consumer. There never is. Cable TV socialism has enriched a lot of the world's biggest capitalists, sports owners and athletes. A cable TV channel blackout is no big deal; it is just a part of doing business.
Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy's 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on "The Politics of Sports Business." His book, "The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition" is available at www.bickley.com and Amazon.