(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Craig Coughlin, Wayne DeAngelo and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to urge Comcast and YES Network to settle their contract dispute was approved by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee on Thursday.
The ongoing dispute between the two entities has disrupted nearly 900,000 Comcast subscribers' access to coverage of professional sports games since November.
"Baseball fans - some of whom retain a cable subscription solely to be able to watch these games - ought to receive the service for which they have paid," said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). "They shouldn't have to leave the provider they're familiar with because of a schoolyard fight between multi-million dollar companies."
Because the YES Network broadcasts 80 percent of all Yankees games, many of the franchise's fans will be unable to watch the team play this season in the absence of a deal, Coughlin noted.
The Assembly resolution urges Comcast Cable and YES to resolve the carriage renewal agreement dispute. In addition to urging Comcast to settle the contract dispute, the resolution also urges the cable company to consider reimbursing YES Network subscribers for each day of the blackout.
"The disagreement we're observing between Comcast and YES simply does not reflect the fundamental spirit of a national pastime that many residents enjoy together," said DeAngelo (D- Mercer, Middlesex). "I hope residents see a resolution soon. If this dispute continues, Comcast subscribers should, at the very least, be reimbursed for their inconvenience."
"Comcast customers have waited way too long for resolution with the YES network," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "So far they have missed more than a month of viewing their favorite baseball games on the YES network. Reimbursing subscribers for the time they've gone without access to YES is the best thing to do while they wait for the conflict to be resolved."
The resolution also notes that sports games are one of the few types of television broadcasts that viewers must watch live and enjoy the experience. It further states that sports are often the reason customers subscribe to cable providers and pay higher rates for receiving sports channels.
The legislation will now return to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.