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Category Archives: New York Rangers

MSG Goes Dark On Time Warner Cable

To no one’s surprise, MSG has gone dark on Time Warner Cable. That leaves most of New York state without access to the Sabres, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. In response, TWC is offering a free view of their sports pack to its customers, although that means little to fans of their local teams. From Multichannel News

Time Warner Cable, maintaining that a deal had been in reach before the programmer demanded a “whopping” increase and refused to negotiate further, is offering its subscribers a month-long freeview of its sports package in the wake of the removal of MSG and MSG Plus from its lineup.

The nation’s No. 2 cable operator and MSG Media couldn’t reach a new license fee agreement as their contract expired at midnight on Jan. 1 and the two regional sports networks, which carry New York Knicks NBA games, as well as the NHL’s New York Rangers and Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, are not currently available to Time Warner Cable’s 2.3 million video customers in the New York DMA and in upstate New York.

“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,” Mike Angus, senior vice president, content acquisition, for Time Warner Cable, in a statement.

“We hate that our customers have been put in this terrible position, and MSG has offered no credible explanation as to why they suddenly need a 53% increase over last year’s rates. Perhaps after renovating the Garden they are looking for New York sports fans to fund renovations of the Forum they recently purchased in Los Angeles. Who knows, but if they have substantial new funding needs, that’s what banks – not our customers – are for. We hope the fans will remind MSG that in these economic times, no one can afford to pay 53% more for their channel.”

In announcing the disconnect on Dec. 31, MSG Media president Mike Bair expressed his own disappointment.
“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. In the end, they were simply not interested in conducting serious negotiations on behalf of their customers and instead spent their time grossly mischaracterizing our positions to the public. We certainly hope Time Warner Cable returns to the negotiating table and reconsiders our good faith proposals.”

Both sides have launched websites to keep customers updated on any future negotiations and for PR purposes. Time Warner has launched www.twcconversations.com/MSG which points out that many games are available on national channels. Meanwhile, MSG has launched two websites. The first one, keepmsg.com focuses on the New York City area, while keepmysabres.com is targeted towards the Buffalo region.

 

NHL Hypes Regional Ratings

This is a huge press release from the NHL, detailing various business and broadcasting numbers. I will post the full release after the jump. But first, I’m going to highlight some of the regional ratings that are included since much of the other information mentioned is dated and already known –

First Quarter Filled With TV Ratings Highlights

Eleven local Regional Sports Networks experienced double- and triple-digit growth, including:

• Nashville (+200 percent)
• Carolina (+125 percent)
• Florida (+100 percent)
• Tampa Bay (+71 percent)
• Philadelphia (+60 percent)
• Boston (+57 percent)
• Minnesota (+53 percent)
• San Jose (+44 percent)
• Buffalo (+26 percent)
• Edmonton (+21 percent)
• New York Rangers (+14 percent)

There’s some huge bumps in there, but keep in mind that for many of the Southern teams, ratings couldn’t go much lower. In the case of the Predators, their local ratings are rarely published, so we don’t know where they previously ranked on the totem pole. Clearly, Florida is seeing a boost from their strong start but they have a long ways to go when it comes to being respectable ratings wise. It will be interesting to see if Carolina can continue that momentum since they have been struggling on the ice. A quick update. The Carolina and Nashville ratings include the Atlanta market for the first time. This helps explain their jumps a little bit. Either way, its good to see more people tuning in. Thanks to Dirk Hoag at On the Forecheck for the info.

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News & Notes

Here’s a few news items.

NHL INTERNATIONAL TV DOLLARS

First off, let’s start with a quote from David Shoalts’ latest column

NHL chief operating office John Collins will have good news to report about the league’s business in Europe and Asia. After a slow start, the television rights to the league’s overseas markets are now sold, with a deal in Russia the latest to fall into place.

In a confidential memo to the governors two years ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league took in $14-million (all figures U.S.) in European television rights, which it split 50-50 with Comcast, which then owned Versus, the league’s main U.S. carrier. Bettman also outlined a strategy of building the league’s presence on multiple platforms to show international advertisers it has a substantial audience in European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

Last summer, the deal with ESPN America, which covered Europe and the Middle East, expired and Bettman decided to negotiate deals individually in each country. He took some heat for the slow start but Collins is expected to tell the governors the NHL will now earn more than double the previous deal, some $30-million, from its overseas broadcast revenue on different platforms.

Whether this number is true or not, who knows but the NHL has already been spinning its new                   international TV deals as huge victories. The fans might feel otherwise but its all rosy in New York. If these dollar figures are correct, don’t expect the NHL to go back to its old way of selling international rights. All that matters to them is dollars and cents, at least when it comes to this issue.

NYR RATINGS

Regional ratings continue to get leaked out. The New York Rangers are the latest and again, it shows some gains. From Sports Media Watch

Through 20 games, Rangers games have averaged a 0.80 rating on MSG Network in the New York market, up 7% from the comparable point last year (0.75).

Tuesday’s game between the Penguins and Rangers earned a 1.60 rating, a season-high.

Those aren’t great numbers, but more importantly, the numbers are up. As long as the Rangers can continue their strong play, the team should see some very high ratings, especially come playoff time.

BITS

  • The New York Times is featuring a terrific series on Derek Boogaard. The series will have three parts in total. It’s some of the best hockey writing of the year. Props to the Times for all their hard work on this story. It’s a must read for anyone whether you’re a sports fan or not.
  • Condolences to Detroit Red Wings play by play man Ken Daniels. His father passed away at the age of 96 on Friday. A familiar face to Wings fans filled in on Sunday – Dave Strader. Strader got his NHL start with the Wings before moving to ESPN. Matt Shepard will be on the air Tuesday. Shepard calls college hockey for Fox Sports Detroit along with his main duties as the voice of Michigan Wolverines basketball.
  • For those looking for previews of HBO’s 24/7 and the schedule, you can find them here. The schedule isn’t complete yet but HBO: 24/7 Flyers/Rangers Road to the Winter Classic will premiere every Wednesday, beginning on December 14. Liev Schreiber will narrate the series once again.
  • And speaking of the Winter Classic, Puck The Media has the details on this year’s NBC ad campaign. One of the ads feature Will Arnett and Luc Robitaille, among others singing “The Hockey Song.” It’s a clever campaign and lets hope it gets plenty of airtime during the NFL on NBC.
 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in HBO, MSG, NBC, New York Rangers, NHL, Ratings, Television

 

FCC Affirms MSG Decision; MSG Must Offer HD

From Multichannel News

The FCC has denied a request by Madison Square Garden and Cablevision to review a Media Bureau decision that it must make high-definition feeds of its MSG and MSG-Plus regional sports nets available to AT&T and Southern New England Telephone Company in Connecticut, and Verizon in the New York and Buffalo markets.The commission affirmed that and refused a request to stay its effective date, though it found that “in order to provide sufficient time for compliance,” it would give them 15 days from the Nov. 10 order release date to provide the programming.

Among other content, MSG and MSG Plus televise New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils National Hockey League games and the New York Knicks National Basketball Association games, should the pro hoops league end its lockout of its players.

The Media Bureau had initially said the feeds had to be provided by Nov. 14, while a deal had to be struck on reasonable terms and conditions by Oct. 22. They now have until Nov. 25 to make the feeds available.
The Media Bureau had ruled that Cablevision/Madison Square Garden Network violated FCC program-access rules by withholding HD versions of the RSNs.

The MSG HD battle is one of the longest running in the world of cable sports television. MSG was dropped from Dish Network last year and hasn’t come to a new agreement with them.

 

Some Rookie Camps On TV & Streaming

With everything that’s gone on today in the hockey world, it seems trivial to even post this but I started working on it last night. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and fans of all the players in Lokomotiv plane crash. It’s been an emotional couple of months to be a hockey fan.

As we get closer to the start of the season, rookie camps are getting underway. As I mentioned before, MSG will be airing New York Rangers games at the Traverse City Prospects tournament . Those games have now been picked up by NHL Network in both the United States and Canada.

Here is the NHLN schedule: ALL TIMES EASTERN

  • Sat. Sept. 10: NYR vs. St. Louis Blues 7:00 PM
  • Sun. Sept. 11: NYR vs. Dallas Stars 6:00 PM
  • Tues. Sept. 13: NYR vs. Carolina Hurricanes 3:30 PM

The MSG schedule includes a game on Sept. 14 but that is not currently on NHLN’s schedule. It’s possible that it will be added later.  The games will also be repeated multiple times on NHLN so there will be plenty of times to catch them.

The Penticton Young Stars tournament gets underway on September 11.This year’s tourney features the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks. Traditionally, the games are streamed online and the Oilers website is showing that at least their first game will be streamed. Rogers Sportsnet West and Pacific are currently scheduled to air a couple of games from the tournament.

Here is the RSN schedule: ALL TIMES PACIFIC

  • Sun. Sept. 11 EDM VS. VAN 7:30 PM
  • Mon. Sept. 12 VAN VS. CGY 4:00 PM
 

Notes: Wild Move Games To Cable, MSG To Air Prospects, Mickey Redmond’s TV Career & ESPN Adds Custance

It’s Monday morning so let’s get caught up on some notes from the last few days to start off the week.

MINNESOTA WILD MOVE GAMES TO FS NORTH EXCLUSIVELY

The Minnesota Wild has been making some great moves when it comes to television. First off, there’s the terrific Becoming Wild series which has been a great summertime viewing for hockey fans. Now comes word that the Wild are taking all their local games to Fox Sports North. This is significant because in the past, KSTC-TV 45 aired a handful of games, primarily on weekends. One issue with KSTC is that their video quality was often terrible and was among the worst in the league. The Wild have also lacked high definition feeds over the past few seasons so hopefully, Fox will show some commitment and add more HD games. For such a popular team, it’s sad that the Wild still do not air all of their games in HD.

RANGERS SEPTEMBER TV SCHEDULE

HudsonValley.com is reporting that MSG will air five pre-season games during the month of September. In addition, MSG will feature live coverage of Rangers games at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. The tourney features eight teams of prospects and is hosted by the Detroit Red Wings. MSG will air games daily Sept. 10-14. There’s no word yet if any other network will air games from the camp. Several years ago, the NHL Network aired the entire camp live but they pulled the plug on it after one season.

REDMOND ON HIS HHOF HONOR & CAREER

Detroit Red Wings analyst Mickey Redmond will receive the Foster Hewitt Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. The Macomb Daily’s Pat Caputo has a column up about Redmond as he gets ready for the honor. The story features how Redmond had to retire early and how he got involved in television. It’s a great read and while many non-Detroit fans aren’t enamored with Mickey, it’s easy to forget that Mick has broadcasted nationally for several networks including CBC. He’s a true legend in the business and the award is well deserved.

CUSTANCE JOINS ESPN

And finally on this Monday, we have word that Sporting News NHL writer Craig Custance is joining ESPN. Custance will be an ESPN Insider blogger on ESPN.com and will likely fill the shoes of the now departed E.J. Hradek. Congrats to Craig as ESPN is a much higher profile than SN and it does show that ESPN is still committed to hockey with Pierre Lebrun, Scott Burnside and now Custance in its stable.

 

Atlantic Division TV Season in Review

Our TV team reviews continue.  This time, the focus is on the Atlantic Division.  The Atlantic is unique in that three NHL teams share two networks.  This leads to many conflicts and some hard feelings between fans of each franchise.  The reviews are after the jump.

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