MSG, Time Warner Cable Finally Reach Agreement

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Jeremy Lin Delivers Big Ratings For MSG Network, Despite Ongoing Time Warner Dispute

Jeremy Lin's out-of-nowhere run over the last five games, capped by last night's game-winner over the Toronto Raptors, has delivered strong ratings to the MSG Network. The number of households tuning into Knicks games nearly doubled last week due to Linsanity, up to 227,360 from 114,019 according to Nielsen figures provided by MSG. The big ratings boost comes despite the fact that roughly two million Time Warner Cable subscribers in the New York area haven't been able to watch the network since Jan. 1 due to a dispute over a contract renewal.

"Unfortunately, MSG is still demanding a 53% increase; our hope is that they will go back to their pre-December demand for a 6.5% increase, and then we can close a reasonable deal," Time Warner Cable said in a statement.

Ratings are up 130 percent for MSG compared to the same point last season, despite missing out on approximately 20 percent of their potential viewer base. Subscription cancellations have been minimal, according to Time Warner, but that could change the longer Lin and the Knicks keep winning. MSG appears to understand the power Lin could have in settling the dispute.

"We would like to have a deal with them," said Mike Bair, president of MSG Media. "Time Warner is a major provider in the marketplace, and we would like every fan in New York to have the opportunity to see the Knicks and Jeremy Lin."

MSG seems to hold most of the cards at the moment. Shares of the network were up 3.76 percent to $32.32 at the end of trading Monday. The dispute has put millions of dollars in advertising at stake for the network.

-- For more on the Knicks, head over to the SB Nation blog Posting and Toasting.


Time Warner Cable Spokesperson: MSG Demands 'Way Out Of Line'

Time Warner Cable says that the price increase being asked for by Madison Square Garden for its MSG Network is “way out of line,” and is at the heart of a dispute that could see MSG pulled from the Time Warner lineup at the end of the year.

MSG wants a 53 percent increase in the price we currently pay. We buy sports all over the country and New Yorkers understand that a 53 percent increase is way out of line,” said Time Warner Cable spokesperson Eric Mangan. “MSG is also insisting that we carry FUSE, which is a music network that is watched by 0.6 percent 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 percent increase that MSG originally wanted. MSG has now reneged on that offer.”

Time Warner Cable services much of the upstate New York area, many of the New York City boroughs and parts of New Jersey. MSG currently carries games for the New York Knicks and four NHL teams — The New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres.

The agreement between Time Warner and MSG expires December 31.

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