New Year removes 1.7 million Time Warner cable homes from Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, and Buffalo Sabres games
- 12/31/11, "MSG leaves Time-Warner Systems," NY Times, Richard Sandomir
- In total, the dispute affects 1.7 million cable homes.
Replacing the scheduled programming were messages from Time Warner Cable that included: “We take pride in bringing viewers the best in sports — and work hard to keep the price of TV reasonable.”
The two sides have argued in television and newspapers advertisements for the last two weeks, staking out positions echoing earlier disputes, mostly about pricing, that led to blackouts of local and national sports networks.
“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,” Michael Bair, the president of MSG Media, said in a statement issued at 8 p.m. Saturday. “Unfortunately, they have rejected every offer we made to them for almost two years.”
He added: “In the end, they were simply not interested in conducting serious negotiations on behalf of their customers and instead spent time grossly mischaracterizing our positions to the public.”
In its statement, Time Warner Cable said: “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. Rather than engage in a war of words, they should come back to the table and get a deal done.”
MSG made a standard plea to subscribers to switch from Time Warner to DirecTV, RCN or Verizon FiOS.
But Time Warner Cable’s recent acquisition of Los Angeles Lakers rights in a recent multibillion-dollar deal that will take effect next season
- has given MSG some new ammunition.
Bair said, “Given Time Warner Cable’s investment in the Lakers — which features the start-up of English and Spanish networks — we expected that they would be eager to continue to deliver top New York sports programming to their customers,
- who are unfortunately caught in the middle of this dispute.”"
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