After a blackout lasting more than a year, one that cost affected Nets fans 100 games, Comcast and YES have reached a new deal on carriage rights. As of Monday morning, there’s no definitive word on whether the deal will return the Nets to the 900,000 households this season, but it seems unlikely.
Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News broke the news by Twitter on Sunday.
BREAKING: Fox and Comcast have settled their dispute, source says. YES back on Comcast by baseball season.— Scott Soshnick (@soshnick) January 1, 2017
That would suggest no Nets games for the rest of this season. Of the 900,000 households affected, the overwhelming majority are in northern and central New Jersey. Attempts to get clarity on the situation were met with no comments. The decision will likely be Comcast’s, said one insider.
A Wall Street Journal report on the deal did not discuss the Nets situation ... and the original version of the article referred to the team as the New Jersey Nets. WSJ did note that the deal includes various FOX channels. YES is now part of FOX Sports. Similarly, a statement by Comcast didn’t offer much clarity.
Broadcasting and Cable Magazine said an agreement to return YES in April, rather than immediately, would offer significant savings to Comcast.
By delaying the return of YES until the Yankees are ready to take the field, Comcast could save a significant amount of money—sources estimate as much as $20 million--possibly making whatever increase it is paying for Fox News more palatable.
So, if you live in New Jersey and have Comcast as your carrier, it looks like you’ll have to wait til next October.
The Nets and YES signed a new rights agreement in October 2015, just before the blackout began. It starts with next season. Television industry sources told NetsDaily back then that the agreement will provide the team with "well above" the $20 million a year the Nets currently receive from YES and "substantially more" than even the $40 million Sports Business Journal suggested they'd get.