/// Knicks Fans: Hoopless, Hopeless in New Year

December 30, 2011  |  Media Week

Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York are on the verge of losing MSG, the regional sports network that serves up a steady diet of Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils games. MSG’s carriage deal with the cable operator is set to expire as the ball drops in Times Square and, despite the approaching deadline, sources say that negotiations essentially have ceased. “Unfortunately, we have not had any recent, meaningful discussions with Time Warner Cable,” MSG said in a statement. “They have rejected every one of our fair proposals for nearly two years, and are unwilling to value our programming in the same manner as other distributors or even engage in good faith negotiations on behalf of their customers.” Sources said a buzzer-beater deal to keep MSG lit up in New York is unlikely. “Knicks fans will almost certainly miss out on the Raptors game [Jan. 2],” said one executive with insight into the situation. For its part, Time Warner Cable said the decision to pull the plug on the RSN rests wholly on MSG’s shoulders. “We will not remove MSG from our New York cable systems,” said Mike Angus, senior vice president, content acquisition for Time Warner Cable, in a statement. “That ball is in MSG’s court, so these channels will come off only if MSG pulls the plug.” Angus said the operator offered to continue to carry MSG through the end of the 2011-12 NBA and NHL seasons, at a 6.5 percent increase—the rate offered by the RSN earlier this summer. According to Time Warner Cable, MSG is now asking for a 53 percent increase in its carriage fee, an assertion the network characterized as factually inaccurate. Per SNL Kagan estimates, operators pay $4.91 per sub per month for the right to carry the RSN’s feeds—$2.63 for MSG and $2.28 for MSG Plus. The costs associated with delivering sports programming have made RSNs some of the priciest channels on the cable dial. In New York, YES Network (Yankees/New Jersey Nets) costs operators $2.99 per sub per month, while SportsNet New York (Mets) carries a fee of $2.55. On average, the cost of carrying a nationally distributed basic-cable network is 26 cents per sub per month

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Knicks Fans: Hoopless, Hopeless in New Year

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