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Behind The Mic: With The Cablevision Deal Settled, How It Affected Ratings In New York

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A recap of the end of the Cablevision-News Corp. Dispute

Eli Manning of the New York Giants against the Detroit Lions at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Eli Manning of the New York Giants against the Detroit Lions at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Well, after what seemed like forever of posturing and arguing endlessly by rich people, Cablevision and News Corp. settled their differences - sort of - by coming to agreement to get the World Series, the Giants, and for tomorrow the Jets back into a lot of homes.

FOX released the following statement:

Fox Networks and Cablevision announced today that they have reached an agreement in principle for a new distribution agreement to provide more than 3 million households with programming from WNYW FOX5 and WWOR My9 in New York , WTXF FOX29 in Philadelphia , and the cable channels FOX Deportes, FOX Business Network, and Nat Geo WILD. The signals for all stations and cable channels were restored Saturday prior to the first pitch of World Series Game 3 on FOX.

Cablevision added a statement of their own, which was less than classy:

"In the absence of any meaningful action from the FCC, Cablevision has agreed to pay Fox an unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest. Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see.

Cablevision thanks its customers for understanding the reasons for the dispute and for staying with us. We are also grateful to the 175 government leaders who raised their voices to urge government intervention and binding arbitration to prevent this blackout. It is clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.

In the end, our customers will pay more than they should for Fox programming, but less than they would have if we had accepted the unprecedented rates News Corp. was demanding when they pulled their channels off Cablevision."

The channels returning to Cablevision are Fox 5 (WNYW), Fox 29 (WTXF), My9, Fox Business Network, National Geographic Wild and Fox Deportes.

So, now that we've got that out of the way, how did the absence of Cablevision subscribers affect the ratings of various sports properties in the New York area?

The answer, logically, is quite a bit. Via friend of the column Son of the Bronx, here are some numbers for recent FOX events, comparisons to previous, Cablevision-available programs, and analysis.

Sunday, Oct. 17

Event: Giants-Lions

Rating: 7.8

Comparison: Jets-Broncos drew a 14.0 on CBS 2 later that day, while Giants games on Fox earlier in this season have averaged a 12.9.

Wednesday, Oct. 27

Event: World Series, Game 1

Rating: 5.5

Comparison: Phillies-Rays Game 1 in 2008 drew a 10.3, meaning that Rangers-Giants went down 47% from that game.

Thursday, Oct. 28

Event: World Series, Game 2

Rating: 5.7

Comparison: Phillies-Rays Game 2 in 2008 drew a 9.7, meaning a 42% drop to Rangers-Giants.

Final Analysis: I don't understand why Cablevision would've caved in, as they make it sound, considering they were killing FOX's ratings and probably could've held on for a more favorable deal. They wasted the notion that it could be a good PR move with the jerky release making it sound like they were just giving in. In the end, somehow, FOX wins because they got what they wanted, and they'll get their ratings back starting with Saturday night's Giants-Rangers Game 3, and Jets-Packers on Sunday.