2002-03-23 / Sports

Cablevision and YES Squabble

Cablevision and YES Squabble

For Customers’ Precious Dollars
By Elio Velez

In the cable war between the fledgling YES Network and Cablevision, vitriol and animosity has bandied about from both sides. At first, it was a private affair but their disagreement has now become a hurricane in the public eye. Which side am I supposed to take in all of this?

After careful consideration in the matter, I am taking the YES network. But not by much.

Both sides are rich corporations and their sole reason in providing service to us is making money. Time Warner, Cablevision and Direct TV are all in the business of making money. They won’t lie to you there, look at the cable bill. The Yankees created their own network to make a cash cow and they will make tons of money. But Cablevision’s reasoning for not providing the YES network is mostly about sour grapes and not trying to "help" their customers.

Back in 1989, Cablevision was so upset that they lost the rights to the Yankees that they displaced the MSG network for months until the issue was settled. The reason then as is now was the issue of basic and premium service.

Cablevision believes that YES should be a premium network, but in some areas, they are charging MSG as a premium network. MSG has lost the Yankees and will lose the Nets next year but they still charge customers premium rates for a discounter service. How is that helping people?

DIRECT TV and YES are winning the public battle. YES gets exposure and DIRECT TV gets the Yankee transplanted customers from Cablevision. If ticking off Yankee fans are the intent of Cablevision, they’re doing a good job.

YES has not lied about their intent to provide a Yankee centric product. They will make money out of this eventually because they are providing a hot product. Cablevision has lost the public relations battle because their position is not a strong one to being with.

What Cablevison should do is place MSG and Fox Sports New York on basic service in all areas and place YES on basic service. Apologize profusely and glorify how you not only helped Yankee fans, but all sports fans in the tri-state area. Do it now before the first Yankee game on April 1, or customers will be flocking from Cablevision as fast as fans leave the #4 train at 161 Street.

Hey Bud, What’s the Holdup?!!

Oh Commisioner and High Holy Roller of Baseball Bud Selig, why haven’t you made a decision on the ownership of the Minnesota Twins? Is it because prospective owner Donald Watkins, a lawyer from Alabama, doesn’t have the money that he states he does? According to published reports, there are those who believe that the reason Watkins is being excluded is due to the fact that he is black. What is the real reason Bud? Inquiring minds would like to know.

In January of 2002, Watkins, who is a successful black attorney in Alabama, stated his interest in buying the Minnesota Twins and saving them from being contracted by MLB. He also said he would secure financing for a new stadium. Watkins has stated in a national publication that he is worth $1.5 billion dollars.

But according to another published report in the, political and legal figures in Alabama have called into question Watkins’ financial wealth. They are not sure if Watkins has the financial wealth near the figure reported. If this is the reason why MLB is concerned, then it should have been quickly and thoroughly investigated.

Fans of the Twins in Minnesota and elsewhere deserve to know by now the fate of their team. If Watkins truly does have the money and the wherewithal to build a new stadium, then he must be approved. If Watkins becomes another John Spano type, who lied to the NHL about his financial portfolio in buying the Islanders, then he must be quickly denied approval.

In the end, I do hope that Watkins has the money to buy the Twins and save a franchise that doesn’t need to be contracted. A man such as Watkins, who has had major success, cannot truly put his reputation and career on the line to lie about his wealth in such a controversial issue. It would be disappointing to say the least if Watkins used a smokescreen to gain publicity by using Minnesota fans.

The Rock vs. Hogan match at Wrestlemania was awesome. I hope it is not too late for the Rangers with Bure and Poti to make the playoffs. Until next week, Peace!

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