TOMS RIVER – In his latest episode of making public demands on topics that his office has no control over, Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari has come out swinging against none other than Comcast, and is demanding that the cable giant immediately restore a New York Yankees TV channel in time for opening day.
Freeholder Vicari is miffed that the company has dropped YES Network as a result of an ongoing rate dispute between the channel and Comcast. As a result of the channel being dropped, pending future negotiations, Ocean County residents will not be able to watch their Yankees games on the channel.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast claimed that the baseball-centric channel was not popular enough with its customers to justify keeping it around. Freeholder Vicari disagreed.
Ocean County Is “Yankees Country,” Freeholder Contends
“I challenge Comcast officials to come to Toms River, to Brick, to Berkeley, to Manchester and tell its customers that Yankees games are not popular,” Vicari said. “This county, especially the northern half, is Yankees Country.”
Joined by Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, the two penned a letter to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, asking them to intervene in the dispute. Due to cable franchises being granted at the municipal level, and the dispute between YES and Comcast being at the national level, the chances of the NJ BPU being able to successfully intervene and resolve the dispute are next to nothing.
“Too often Comcast complains about costs and turns its back on its customers. We have heard nothing from Comcast about how the loss of the YES Network will impact its millions of customers, including senior citizens, who depend on the games for entertainment,” Little and Vicari said in the letter.
The impasse is expected to continue past opening day, to the dismay of baseball fans.
The two continued, adding “The cable company is always quick to raise rates or fees, but then plays the poor victim when the YES Network demands a bigger piece of the pie. We also note that since the YES Network was removed from the channel lineup last year, the cost reduction has not been passed down to customers.”