Regional Sports Nets Hit Ad, Affiliate Home Run
The Yes Network netted $63.9 million in ad revenues, compared to the $49.4 million at MSG, which has New York Knicks and Rangers games. Southern California's Fox Sports West was third at $40.1 million in net ad dollars.
That was slightly above SportsNet New York, which carries New York Mets games, at $39.8 million, giving the New York market three of the top five RSNs in advertising performance. Texas-based Fox Sports Southwest was fifth, but well below the channels in New York and L.A. with $29.4 million.
Yes Network's net ad dollars did dip about 7% last year as the media recession set in, according to Kagan. MSG's total actually rose, although by less than $1 million.
But ad dollars are only a small portion of RSN revenues, with the bulk coming from stable and largely recession-proof affiliate payments.
In total revenues, the Yes Network also dominated in 2009 with $417.1 million, topping MSG's $308.8 million. SportsNet New York moved up to third at $254.6 million.
Fox Sports Southwest ($252.1 million) leapfrogged Fox Sports West ($241.4 million), according to Kagan.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, which owns three RSNs, has expressed some concern that RSNs could suffer if they pay increasingly higher rights fees to carry games. But the New York-area networks don't face that hurdle.
Yes is majority owned by the Yankees; MSG's parent Cablevision owns the Knicks and Rangers; and SportsNet New York is owned partly by the Mets.