As expected, the Buffalo Sabres are taking a big hit since MSG was pulled from Time Warner Cable. From The Buffalo News –
The dispute between Time Warner and Madison Square Garden network, the New York City-based regional sports carrier with the exclusive rights to Sabres telecasts, plummeted the Sabres’ stratospheric television rating from an average season 8.3 share down to 3.2 for Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over Edmonton at First Niagara Center.
In other words, nearly two-thirds of the TVs tuned into Sabres hockey — the NHL’s leading American television market — before the New Year are now darkened by MSG’s Jan. 1 removal from Time Warner.
In addition to the on-air sponsorships and commercials, the loss of air time is reducing dasher board and on-ice exposures, meaning sponsors and the Sabres are watching money and opportunities to reach a captivated audience circle the drain. The Sabres are particularly affected by the local advertising because the team, not MSG or Time Warner, sells and benefits from that advertising.
The Sabres have been doing some viewing parties to help the fans out but that’s little consolation to them. And as the story mentions, this really hurts the Sabres bottom line as they control all advertising of the games. The only thing MSG really does is help produce it and supply a cable channel. While much of the focus has been on the NYC area, nobody will feel the effects of this more than Buffalo.