NEW YORK -- ( Wall Street Journal wsj.com) In an online article, Matt Jarzemsky of the Wall Street Journal ( wsj.com ) reports that Madison Square Garden Co.'s sports networks ( MSG ) won't be available for Time Warner Cable Inc. subscribers in the new year, as the two sides were unable to resolve a dispute over programming costs.
In Western New York, that leaves hometown hockey fans of the Sabres without an opportunity to watch games on the Time Warner Cable systems here.
The article goes on to quote both sides, stating:
"We are disappointed that MSG and MSG Plus will be dropped from Time Warner Cable's lineup," said Michael Bair, president of MSG Media, in a New Year's Eve press release. "All we have asked is for Time Warner Cable to value our programming in the same way as other TV providers--nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, they rejected every offer we made to them for almost two years."
Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable said in an e-mailed statement, "The decision to remove their programming from our lineup rests entirely with MSG. By making that decision well in advance of the deadline, MSG has again shown that they are more interested in holding New York sports fans hostage than in negotiating a deal."
A release obtained by Eyewitness News from the Western New York spokesman for Time Warner Cable states:
NEW YORK, NY – MSG Networks removed its sports channels from Time Warner Cable lineups this morning, depriving New York sports fans of many of the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Sabres and Devils games. It is the second time in 15 months that MSG Networks has done this to New York-area fans, having removed their channels from DISH Network subscribers in September 2010.
“We had a deal within reach earlier this year,” said Mike Angus, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition, for Time Warner Cable. “Despite agreeing to the asked for 6.5% price increase on rates that MSG themselves deemed as fair market rates just last year, MSG reneged on the deal and instead, demanded a whopping 53% increase and refused to negotiate further.
The good news for sports fans, however, is that they will still have access to a lot of their favorite teams’ games on Time Warner Cable. Nearly 40% of the remaining Knicks games, most NBA playoff games and the NBA All-Star game will still be available to our customers. Nearly 30% of Rangers games, nearly 20% of Sabres games and some Devils games will also be available as well as the majority of the NHL playoffs. To learn more about what channels the games are on, visit our website: www.twcconversations.com/MSG .
“We understand that sports costs are rising, but everyone in the sports food chain has a responsibility to manage costs with a long-term view and to understand what consumers consider to be a reasonable value, and can afford and absorb. Unfortunately, MSG is not accepting that responsibility, and is instead passing along massive price increases that will end up in our customers’ bills. In these tough economic times, our customers have to stick to a budget, and so do we.”
The Wall Street Journal article described the ownership of MSG:
MSG's cable networks are controlled by the Dolan family, which also has majority stakes in AMC Networks Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp., the cable company that spun out MSG early in 2010.
Eyewitness News will continue to monitor this developing story.