MSG to Time Warner- Start 'Dolan' out $$

Steve is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

New York basketball fans were in a 'melo' mood after Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks opened the NBA season with a win against arch-rival Boston on Christmas Day. 

However, a grinch might change that if MSG (NASDAQ: MSG), a Cablevison spin-off, and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) don't come to an agreement by New Year's Day. The dispute would affect viewers of Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and even Buffalo Sabres games. The New York Times is reporting that MSG media, a unit of Madison Square Garden, now wants "a 53 percent increase" and twice that if TW refuses to carry Fuse. Time Warner dropped Fuse, MSG Media’s music channel. MSG said that "the acquisition by the Knicks of Carmelo Anthony, the 100 percent rise in Knicks ratings and Time Warner Cable’s multibillion dollar deal with the Lakers had changed the sports rights landscape."

Madison Square Garden and its properties -- including the Knicks, the Rangers and the MSG network -- were sold to Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) and the Dolan famly. In 1994, Paramount Communications,  the owner of Madison Square Garden, was acquired by Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA), who in turn sold the MSG properties to Cablevision and ITT Corporation, which had 50% ownership each. ITT would sell its share to Cablevision three years later.

The irony is that from September 1988 through July 1989, Cablevision did not carry MSG Network over the question of whether MSG should be offered as a basic service or a premium service. This move also occurred as New York Yankees games on cable moved to MSG from Cablevision-owned SportsChannel. 

Cablevision did not carry most of the games of the New York Yankees in 2002, because they would not accept the price asked during the inaugural season of YES Network. Cablevision wanted to offer YES as a premium service, like MSG and Fox Sports NY, where YES ownership wanted the channel on the 'Family Cable' tier. After a long standoff, a deal was made the following year. As a result, YES, along with MSG and Fox Sports NY, moved to the 'Family Cable' tier.

I do not own shares in the above-mentioned companies. 

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