LOS ANGELES Time Warner Cable and Comcast have entered into a partnership with Sterling Entertainment Enterprises to create a New York-based regional sports network centered on the Mets, with plans for a spring 2006 launch.
A management staff has yet to be appointed, but Comcast will oversee day-to-day operations and TWC will provide most of the distribution. The new network will be available on TWC's expanded basic tier and reach 2.3 million customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, upstate New York, Orange and Sullivan Counties in the New York Hudson Valley, and Bergen County, N.J. A total of 790,000 Comcast customers in New Jersey and Connecticut will also receive the channel.
"We are pleased to ensure Mets fans in the New York metropolitan area will be able to watch their team for years to come in an uninterrupted manner," said TWC chairman and CEO Glenn Britt in announcing the new agreement. "We are delighted to make this announcement with our partners, Time Warner Cable and Comcast," echoed Saul Katz, a partner in SEE, which is made up of Mets owners.
The channel will have rights to telecast as many as 125 regular-season games as well as preseason games and other related programming such as interviews and pregame shows. The currently unnamed net will carry all Mets home games and select away games in HDTV and offer video-on-demand product for TWC and Comcast subscribers that have digital cable.
The move follows several deals made by Comcast to create regional sports networks in different markets. The most recent partnership was with the Atlanta Braves.
"Our participation allows us an opportunity to provide compelling sports programming and greater value for our customers in the New York Mets viewing area, and an opportunity to apply our sports programming expertise in a way that will benefit Mets fans," said Steve Burke, COO of Comcast Corp. and president of Comcast Cable.
Each of the companies will have an equity interest in the new network. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.