Washington, D.C. (February 22, 2013) -
Cablevision on April 1 will join DIRECTV and Verizon in
assessing a small monthly sports surcharge on customer bills in
an effort to offset the rising cost of acquiring sports
The cable operator says a $2.98 charge will start showing up on
all monthly bills except on those for customers who subscribe to
basic packages that do not include sports channels.
last September added a
$3 monthly sports fee to the bills of new customers in roughly
20 percent of U.S. markets. The fee was imposed in markets where
there is more than one regional sports channel, such as Denver,
Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The satcaster said the fee
will be expanded this to current customers in any market that
has multiple regional sports channels.
lead, adding a $2.42 surcharge for sports in select markets with
all markets getting it by April.
With Cablevision joining the group, it would seem likely that
most, if not all, TV providers will eventually follow suit,
barring a customer revolt. The pay TV providers have publicly
lamented that networks such as ESPN and new regional sports
networks such as the new Los Angeles Lakers channel are asking
for too much money to carry their channels.
However, the channels remain hugely popular with the sports
audience so, for now, the pay TV providers may have no choice
but to pass the costs along to their subscribers, although
DIRECTV CEO Mike White says the $3 monthly surcharge does not
come close to offsetting the cost of the regional sports
The Wall Street Journal reports that Cablevision says that
sports programming represents one-third of its overall