Comcast and the Yankees have made peace after a nasty spat.
The company will relaunch the Yankees-airing Yes Network on 950,000 Comcast homes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut in time for most this year's baseball season -- most likely in April or May.
The deal with Fox Sports, reached on Jan. 1, ends a game of chicken for the two media giants, Comcast and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.
In late 2015, Comcast yanked Yes Network -- which also airs Brooklyn Nets games -- after it couldn't negotiate what it considered a fair per-subscriber price. Yes Network costs about $6 a month per subscriber, or about the same as ESPN, according to industry sources.
Observers thought Comcast had lost its mind: Customers would scream that they wanted to watch the Yankees and flee to DirecTV or Verizon, which still televised their games. But armed with its set-top-box viewing data in the Yankees' TV market, Comcast insisted they were wrong. There were rabid Yankees fans, but Comcast subscribers didn't watch as many Yankees games as people thought.
The Yankees were off Comcast for the entire 2016 baseball season, admittedly not a particularly memorable one since the team finished with 84 wins and 78 losses and fell short of a playoff berth. Comcast says it barely noticed a change in its subscriber numbers.
The new deal came as part of a broader year-end carriage negotiation for Fox News and a dozen Fox regional sports networks, which are part of Murdoch's 21st Century Fox entertainment conglomerate.
As part of a grand bargain to make Yes Network more economically palatable for Comcast, the cable giant dropped Fox College Sports.
"We always said that we would continue to evaluate whether there was a way to bring back the Yes Network under terms that are consistent with our commitment to providing the best programming at the best possible price," Comcast spokesman John Demming said. "Our year-end discussions with Fox gave us a chance to revisit this, and we were able to reach an overall agreement for Fox News Channel, 12 Fox RSNs, and Yes Network that makes sense for both of us and most importantly, our customers."
Comcast subscribers will be informed when the Yes Network will go live again. It will likely be at least 120 days.