All the commercials and messages from Sam Rosen and Mike Breen wasn’t just a network blowing smoke, as 1.3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York City and northern New Jersey lost MSG and MSG+ networks at 12:01 this morning.
According to a Time Warner spokesman to the NY Daily News, the decision to pull the plug was made by MSG officials, though MSG disagrees.
“All we have asked is for Time Warner to value our programming in the same way as other TV providers — nothing more, nothing less,” said MSG Media President Michael Bair in a statement. “Unfortunately, they rejected every offer we made to them for almost two years.”
Time Warner spokesman Eric Mangan said MSG refused to allow the channels to air while the two sides came to an agreement after the Dec. 31 deadline.
“MSG has again shown that they are more interested in holding New York sports fans hostage than in negotiating a deal,” Mangan said.
In total, the two channels air about 400 live NHL, NBA and WNBA games annually. The first game cable subscribers will miss start Monday when the New York Knicks host the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Devils faceoff against the Ottawa Senators.
Luckily for me, I have Cablevision, so the chances of ever losing the Rangers or Knicks is pretty remote. But, I have felt the wrath of Cablevision not being able to work out a deal with a company, including not having the YES Network for the first year of its existence.
Hopefully the dispute is solved quickly because both the Rangers and Knicks have the potential for special seasons, and it would be tough for fans not to be able to see it.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia