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Friday, December 16, 2011
MSG: Time Warner may pull Knicks games

By Ian Begley

According to Madison Square Garden, Time Warner Cable is threatening to pull MSG Networks from its systems at the end of the year.

MSG televises the Knicks and the NHL’s Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Buffalo Sabres.

“We have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement with Time Warner Cable for close to two years, and are simply asking them to pay fair and reasonable rates that are consistent with what other providers pay for our programming – nothing more,” Michael Bair, president, MSG Media, said in a release. “Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable is not interested in reaching a fair agreement, and, in fact, is not interested in conducting productive negotiations on behalf of its customers. Because of that, we suggest that our customers switch providers before Time Warner Cable pulls MSG’s networks off its systems.”

According to MSG, the agreement between MSG Networks and Time Warner Cable is up on December 31. If both sides can't reach an agreement, MSG expects that Time Warner will drop it from its lineup.

In a statement, Time Warner Cable claims that MSG has "reneged" on an original proposal, which the cable company was willing to accept.

"MSG wants a 53% increase in the price we currently pay. We buy sports all over the country and New Yorkers understand that a 53% increase is way out of line," Time Warner Cable spokesman Eric Mangan said. "MSG is also insisting that we carry FUSE, which is a music network that is watched by 0.6% of our customers. If we don't carry FUSE, they have threatened to double the rate they charge for MSG. We value sports and understand that costs are rising, which is why we're willing to pay the 6.5% increase that MSG originally wanted. MSG has now reneged on that offer."

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