Wednesday, January 4, 2012
No talks between Time Warner Cable, MSG
By Ian Begley
Time Warner Cable customers hoping to catch the Knicks-Bobcats game on MSG are out of luck.
Representatives from Time Warner Cable and MSG say no negotiations have been scheduled to resolve their cable dispute.
The Knicks' home game Monday against Toronto was not available to Time Warner Cable customers due to the spat with MSG.
Rangers fans who subscribe to Time Warner Cable won't be able to watch Thursday's Rangers-Florida Panthers game on MSG.
Fans of the New York Islanders, the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils either have or will be affected by the dispute.
At issue is a disagreement over fees that carriers pay for channels.
According to Time Warner Cable, MSG wanted a 53 percent increase in the rates it charges the cable network for its games. Time Warner said this demand came after the two companies had already agreed to a 6.5 percent rate increase last year.
"We hope the fans will remind MSG that in these economic times, no one can afford to pay 53 percent more for their channel," said Mike Angus, senior vice president, Content Acquisition, for Time Warner Cable.
MSG says no agreement has been reached and has urged its customers to switch providers.
Michael Bair, president of MSG Media, also disputes Time Warner Cable's numbers.
"The numbers that Time Warner Cable is reporting are categorically untrue," said Bair. "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."
Time Warner Cable says that Knicks fans can watch 40% of the team's games on channels other than MSG.
Counters Bair, “Sports fans are very passionate, they don’t want some of the games, they want all of the games. They want to watch our robust pre and post game shows, and they want to watch our award-winning coverage of our teams.”
Both Time Warner Cable and MSG say they don't know when settlement talks will resume.
“There are no negotiations between MSG and Time Warner Cable," Bair said. "We continue to urge fans to switch providers so they won’t miss games. This month alone, Time Warner Cable subscribers will miss 15 of 17 Knicks games, and countless Sabres, Rangers, Devils, and Islanders games.”
Time Warner Cable spokesman Eric Mangan said the cable company is "still waiting for MSG to come back to the table."
As an alternative, Manhattan cable customers can switch providers to RCN, Verizon FIOS or DirecTV.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.