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Cable Operators

Mets Mess Threatens Opening Day

3/31/2005 10:17 AM Eastern

Time Warner Cable customers in the New York area are in danger of missing New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez’s scheduled debut April 4 as neither that MSO nor Cablevision Systems Corp. appear willing to end their current carriage dispute.

Spokesmen for the parties said that no talks were scheduled in an effort to return carriage of Cablevision’s Madison Square Garden Network and FSN New York regional sports networks to Time Warner’s 2.3 million subscribers in time for MSGN’s April 4 Mets-Cincinnati Reds opening day telecast.

On March 8 Cablevision pulled the signal for the two networks as well as for Cablevision’s Metro Channels and three Fox College Sports channels from Time Warner after failing to renew a distribution deal with the MSO.

At issue is Time Warner’s reluctance to pay a combined $4 monthly fee for the networks. Cablevision wants to turn the negotiations over to an arbitrator, while Time Warner feels that binding arbitration would set a bad precedent for the cable industry.

Time Warner said it will provide $2 in rebates per month to subscribers while the networks are off.

September