Presumably, your cable TV bills will remain as-is what with the costs of televising a couple of Hartford Wolfpack games. Newsday’s Steve Zipay on Cablevision’s refusal to refund.
Do the math. Cablevision is the only cable operator to televise regular-season games of three NHL teams in one market: the Rangers, Islanders and Devils. It controls two sports channels — MSG Network and Fox Sports Net New York — and owns one team, the Rangers.
Yet three months into the lockout that has erased NHL regular-season games, the dollar amount in rebates for Cablevision’s 2.9-million subscribers is this: Zero. Local fans continue to pay the same monthly cable bill for a winter sports schedule full of holes.
Not only that, Cablevision subscribers will be ponying up even more some time after Jan. 1, when rates are due to rise an average 2.8 percent. Something’s wrong again, folks.
Given all this, if the NHL season goes down the drain, which is a distinct possibility when commissioner Gary Bettman and owners respond to the NHL Players Association’s proposal Tuesday in Toronto and the players don’t like what they hear, Cablevision surely will provide rebates then, right?
After all, subscribers received a minimum of 55 cents per month when the company’s dispute with YES kept the Yankees off the air in 2002. Some received a rebate of $2 per month or more. Why not expect a similar giveback for programming involving three pro teams?
Don’t be so sure.
Cablevision representatives simply said Monday that no announcement has been made on the possibility of rebates and the policy hasn’t changed. Maybe they’re waiting to see if the impasse continues and NHL owners formally shut down for the season. Maybe they think the alternative programming is just fine.
During the time slots on MSG and FSNY scheduled for Rangers, Islanders and Devils games, a potpurri of second-tier stuff is dished up: college hoops, some minor-league hockey, replays of “classic” NHL games and syndicated shows. In short, not the real deal, not what NHL fans are paying to see.