If Yankees fans are upset their team lost the American League Championship Series to the Texas Rangers, you can imagine how Fox Television executives feel. The Yankees are the Holy Grail of sports TV ratings. People either love ’em or hate ’em, but no matter what, they watch ’em.
Aside from losing valuable Nielsen ratings, the Yankees’ defeat clearly cost Fox leverage in its battle with Cablevision over getting more for its programming. You could imagine the outcry Cablevision would have faced from customers, and certainly area politicians, had many in Greater New York been unable to watch their favorite team in the World Series because of the dispute, which began Oct.15.
It’s Cablevision 1-Fox 0 in the National League Championship Series as well, since the Phillies lost to the San Francisco Giants in six games. Cablevision is the main cable provider in central and southern New Jersey, as well as southeastern Pennsylvania, and the company clearly dodged a bullet. You can bet the phones were ringing off the hook at Delaware Valley Cablevision because Phillies fans could not watch the NLCS, shown on Fox. Yankees fans with Cablevision were at least able to watch because the games were on TBS. Phillies fans were not so lucky.
Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez did the smart thing by allowing the Mets to keep the $3.1 million they withheld from him when he broke his thumb and missed the last seven weeks of the season because of an altercation with his prospective father-in-law. Odds are K-Rod could have collected his entire 2010 salary had he gone to arbitration, but it would have been a case of winning the battle and losing the war. Rodriguez’s contract is up with the Mets after the 2011 season, and I’m sure he wants the Mets to be bidding for his services for 2012 and beyond. His conciliatory gesture is therefore a shrewd business move. K-Rod however still has to deal with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office concerning the August incident at Citi Field.
LA Lakers star and Queensbridge native Ron Artest was a laugh riot last week on ABC-TV’s late-night talk show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Artest came out wearing a bizarre outfit, with a fake black beard held together by a rubber band. He also confessed to Kimmel that he’s a huge Celine Dion fan. Who knew?
Artest has a far more serious side too, as he is active in Malaika, a nonprofit group whose mission is to stamp out malaria in the world, with particular emphasis on Africa. He recently discussed his support of the organization in ESPN the Magazine and was photographed on the cover wearing its fund-raising bracelet.
This will be the last weekend of horse racing at Belmont Park in 2010 as the thoroughbreds move to Aqueduct for the late fall, winter and early spring racing season. Although the New York Racing Association has long been in financial peril, it should be able to avoid any shutdowns thanks to a $25 million loan that it’s receiving from Genting, the corporation that will build and run the casino operations at Aqueduct.