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Time Warner threatens to drop MSG

Fans urged to switch providers to avoid possibility of missing games

Friday, 12.16.2011 / 7:44 PM / News
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Time Warner threatens to drop MSG

As excitement builds for the return of the NBA, Time Warner Cable is threatening to pull MSG Networks from its systems, which will rob sports fans of Knicks games, as well as the NHL’s Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Buffalo Sabres, college basketball and other award-winning MSG original programming. Customers are urged to call 1-888 keepmsg (533-7674) or visit keepmsg.com to find alternate providers in their area so they do not risk missing games.

“We have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement with Time Warner Cable for close to two years, and are simply asking them to pay fair and reasonable rates that are consistent with what other providers pay for our programming – nothing more,” said Michael Bair, president, MSG Media. “Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable is not interested in reaching a fair agreement, and, in fact, is not interested in conducting productive negotiations on behalf of its customers.  Because of that, we suggest that our customers switch providers before Time Warner Cable pulls MSG’s networks off its systems.”

As the exclusive local television home of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, New York Liberty and New York Red Bulls, MSG Networks (MSG and MSG+) telecast nearly 400 live professional games per year.  They also telecast 150 live college basketball games, 50 live college football games from top conferences (SEC, Pac 12, Big 12) and other award-winning original programming.  MSG Networks have won 63 New York Emmy’s over the last four years, more than any New York station or network.

“Given Time Warner Cable’s recent extraordinary investment in Lakers and MLS Galaxy programming in Los Angeles, the excitement for the return of the Knicks here in New York, and the fact that we are only asking that they pay fair and reasonable rates consistent with what others pay, we expected that Time Warner Cable would want to continue delivering our compelling New York sports programming to their customers,” added Bair. “Knicks ratings were up 100% last season, and with the recent addition of top NBA center Tyson Chandler, there is more excitement around the team than ever.  And Time Warner Cable has stated publicly that it’s committed to broadening its investment in local sports.  Yet in their own backyard they have risked losing the most popular sports programming.  What does that say to New York sports fans?”

In addition to threatening to drop MSG Networks from their systems on December 31, Time Warner Cable is also threatening to drop Fuse.  Fuse is dedicated exclusively to music, appeals to a growing audience of a desirable demographic and its unique partnership with MSG Entertainment ensures it offers programming, access and promotion that no one else can.  Featuring original series and specials, exclusive interviews, live concerts and video blocks from today’s most popular artists, Fuse has brought fans the biggest names in music – Rihanna, Dave Matthews Band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park and Lady Gaga.  Fuse will feature the year’s most anticipated concert with “Fuse Presents: Z100’s Jingle Ball 2011 Live from Madison Square Garden,” on December 18, and showcases compelling original programming, such as “Hoppus on Music” hosted by Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus and “Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street,” with comedian Billy Eichner, premiering on December 22.

The agreement between MSG Networks and Time Warner Cable concludes at midnight on December 31, 2011.  Should the companies fail to reach an agreement prior to expiration, it is expected that Time Warner Cable will drop MSG’s Networks from its lineup. Customers are urged to call 1-888-keepmsg (533-7674) or visit keepmsg.com to find alternate providers in their area.

“We are not giving up. We will continue to attempt to negotiate to reach a fair agreement that allows our fans to continue to enjoy their favorite teams until the last possible moment,” said Bair. “But based on Time Warner Cable’s unwillingness to even entertain our fair proposals, things don’t look good.”