The New York Rangers are posting some nice ratings gains but that momentum could be coming to an end. With a carriage deadline fast approaching, MSG and Time Warner Cable do not appear to be in serious discussion. From Variety –
MSG Network and Time Warner Cable seem ready to duke it out to a bitter year-end deadline, with New York sports fans pawns in the battle between the host of the Knicks, Rangers, Sabres, Islanders and Devils and the New York area’s major cable operator.
The two sides have “not had any recent, meaningful discussions” MSG Media president Mike Bair said in a statement Wednesday; their carriage deal expires Dec. 31.
A Time Warner Cable rep said “negotiations are ongoing and we are still hopeful.” But insiders acknowledged that while the two sides talk every day, contact hasn’t been fruitful.
Losing MSG on TWC would be a big blow to the New York hockey teams as Time Warner is the dominant carrier in both New York City and Buffalo. While the Sabres are overshadowed in this battle, their ratings are among the highest in the league and this dispute has the potential to drag them down. TWC controls virtually all of Western New York so this dispute has a wide ranging impact throughout the entire state.
MSG has been urging viewers to find alternative carriers. Unfortunately, one alternative isn’t available as MSG isn’t carried on Dish Network after the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement back in October 2010. It’s likely that some Dish customers moved to TWC to get MSG and now they are again twisting in the wind. TWC claims they will not pull the plug on MSG, but you never know in these PR campaigns. Hopefully, the two sides can come up with a New Year’s miracle.