The cable company joins DirecTV and Verizon in tacking a special fee on to monthly bills that calls attention to the rising price of sports programming. Cablevision says it will charge $2.98 a month beginning in April, adding that it has not raised its basic TV subscription price since late 2010. “Unfortunately, the rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge, which is similar to those introduced by other TV providers,” says VP Bradley Feldman. Cablevision spun off Madison Square Garden, which has the MSG regional sports network, although the family of CEO James Dolan controls both companies. DirecTV said last week that it will expand the territories where it has a $3 a month surcharge — in part to cover the cost of regional sports networks — and charge current customers as well as new ones. “I believe the whole sports business model is broken, and that the only alternative that we have if we’re going to carry sports channels in these few markets that are completely out of control and unaffordable frankly for the average consumer is with some kind of a surcharge,” CEO Mike White said.
Here’s Cablevision’s release:
BETHPAGE, NY, February 21, 2013 – Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) today announced that it was following other television providers in implementing a Sports Programming Surcharge, reflecting the rising costs of sports-related programming. The new surcharge of $2.98 per month reflects only a small portion of Cablevision’s overall payments for sports programming and will take effect in April. Cablevision has not increased its cable television pricing since late 2010.
“We are very focused on the price our customers pay for our services, and the value we deliver,” said Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president of video product management. “We have not raised our cable television prices in more than two years, even as we have added channels, On Demand content, new TV to GO services and other benefits. Unfortunately, the rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge, which is similar to those introduced by other TV providers.”
The Sports Programming Surcharge will be applied to cable television customers subscribing to Family or Value packages or above. Cablevision is also implementing a modest $2-per-month adjustment to the price of its Optimum en Espanol Spanish-language package, which includes more than 45 Spanish-language channels. The rate of commercial cable television service offered through Optimum Business will increase by $4 per month.