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The MSG Network (MSG) is an American regional cable and satellite television network, and radio service owned by MSG Networks, Inc.—a spin-off of the main Madison Square Garden Company operation (itself a spin-off of local cable provider Cablevision).

Primarily serving the Mid-Atlantic United States, its programming focuses on events featuring and other programs about New York City sports teams, including live game broadcasts of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and New York Red Bulls. The channel is named after the Madison Square Garden sports and entertainment venue in Midtown Manhattan.

HistoryEdit

What would become MSG debuted on October 15, 1969, with an NHL hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Minnesota North Stars. As a result, it became the first regional sports network in North America, and one of the first of its kind in the world. The channel, which at the time did not even have a name, was carried by Manhattan Cable Television under a one-year, 125-event deal that was signed in May 1969. At the time, the cable provider, which had televised New York Knickerbockers (currently known as the New York Knicks) and Rangers post-season games the previous spring for a $25,000 rights fee, had only 13,000 subscribers.[1] (The channel's coverage of the deciding game of the 1970 NBA Finals, in which the Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers, was the only live broadcast of the game shown in New York City; WABC-TV blacked out ABC's telecast.) Madison Square Garden renewed the deal with what was now Sterling Manhattan Cable Television in the fall of 1970, in a five-year deal at an estimated rights fee of $1–1.5 million. Charles Dolan, who later headed MSG and Cablevision, was the president of Sterling Manhattan at the time.[2]

Games held at Madison Square Garden later appeared on premium cable network Home Box Office (HBO) during the network's early years. On September 22, 1977 the current channel debuted as UA-Columbia/MSG and was later sold to Gulf+Western, along with its namesake sports arena; the company would rename itself to Paramount Communications (after sister companies Paramount Pictures and Paramount Television) in 1989. By 1978, the first mentions of the "temporarily named" Madison Square Garden Network appeared in print advertising.[3]

In September 2015, the MSG Networks division and the sports ownership and entertainment arms were spun off into two separate companies.[4][5] The Madison Square Garden Company spun off the sports and entertainment properties into a new company and then renamed itself to MSG Networks, Inc.; the spun off sports and entertainment operations became the new incarnation of “The Madison Square Garden Company”.[6]

MSG controlling owner James L. Dolan began exploring a sale of the network in April 2017.[7]

ProgrammingEdit

Among other teams, it has long produced radio and television broadcasts of the NBA's New York Knicks, the NHL's New York Rangers and the WNBA's New York Liberty, which play their home games at the Garden. Upon its launch in 2014, MSG also became the television home of the Westchester Knicks, the New York Knicks' farm club in the NBA Development League.

MSG also holds television rights to MLS's New York Red Bulls (which play at Red Bull Arena) and, beginning in 2017, the NASL's New York Cosmos. In 2010, MSG began broadcasting exclusive content from the NFL's New York Giants.[8] Buffalo Bills content was added in 2016.

MSG also owns the television rights to the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. Islanders and Devils games air on MSG Plus, while Sabres games air on MSG Western New York in Western New York and are split between MSG and MSG Plus in the rest of upstate New York.

The network also broadcast nightly highlights of races held at tracks sanctioned by the New York Racing Association, as well as a weekly magazine show; live races (normally graded stakes races) also air on select Saturday afternoons. MSG Network broadcasts soccer events from the Premier League (since 2002, consisting of game rebroadcasts from Fox Soccer and later Fox Soccer Plus and a weekly highlight program) and the UEFA Champions League (since 2009, with a live game each Tuesday of competition, produced by Fox Soccer Plus, with a second game originally aired on Fox Soccer Plus also rebroadcast on MSG or MSG Plus).

It also runs extended highlights from concerts held at MSG or other venues owned by the Dolan family through the Cablevision Systems Corporation, along with other shows focused on New York musicians – which are frequently used as filler programming in blackout zones; as well as movies – generally sports-related, in addition to some Hollywood blockbusters and several New York sports-related fiction or documentary programs that were originally broadcast on ESPN, which are most commonly seen during the summer NHL and NBA offseason.

During the period of time in which sister station MSG Plus was a primary affiliate of Fox Sports Net, MSG also acted as a secondary FSN affiliate, airing Fox Sports-produced programming in certain timeslots (such as the National Sports Report) and contributing footage to FSN shows. This ceased when the FSN branding was removed and FSN New York became MSG Plus, and FSN programming has since been split between MSG Plus and the YES Network (as Fox took a stake in YES in 2012).

Archival programsEdit

  • The 50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden – debuted in October 2006, the program looks at the historic sports and non-sports-related events that have been held at Madison Square Garden.
  • MSG Originals – a series of programs expanding on 50 Greatest Moments to further discuss the history of Madison Square Garden, that debuted in 2007. Topics include Mecca of Boxing and Spring of 1994.
  • MSG Vault – a series that debuted in 2006, featuring classic Knicks and Rangers games (among other events held at the Garden) from previous decades. In some cases, MSG no longer has complete tapes of the games, and so the content often consists of highlights; more recent episodes have seen Rangers and Knicks related content not originally produced by the channel. In launching MSG Vault, MSG indicated that it has over 90,000 tapes of Garden events in its archive. As noted, some tapes prior to the 1990s are incomplete (parts of events may have been taped over or erased). Hosted by Al Trautwig, "The Vault" remains one of MSG's most popular programs, with a cult-like following of viewers from all ages. Trautwig, along with a usual guest that pertains to the theme of the program, often describes the story about how the footage was found and other interesting info.[9] Buffalo Sabres archival content is occasionally broadcast, but less often and is shown as a separate program, generally hosted by Kevin Sylvester.

Hockey BroadcastingEdit

  • Inside the Rangers – a weekly Rangers magazine show that debuted in 2006.
  • Islanders Illustrated – a monthly Islanders magazine show (2008–2009)
  • Hockey Night Live! – a week-in-review show focusing on the Rangers; Islanders; Devils and Sabres that originally debuted in 2005 as Hockey Night New York Live, and was renamed to its current title in 2007, airing on Saturday nights during the NHL season. Al Trautwig is the primary host, with Ron Duguay, Mike Keenan, Stan Fischler, Dave Maloney, Ken Daneyko, Butch Goring, Steve Valiquette and John MacLean among the analysts.
  • Beyond Blue & Gold — a periodical Sabres magazine show that debuted in 2013[10]

Online programmingEdit

MSG's website, MSGNetworks.com, has offered exclusive podcast programming since 2006. These include:

  • This Week in Hockey – debuted in 2006, it features guests from around the NHL and from MSG Networks, including Stan Fischler, Joe Micheletti, and a fantasy hockey perspective provided by the RinkRat.

Talk showsEdit

  • Halls of Fame – hosted by Fran Healy, the program features interviews with famous players and coaches from a variety of sports.
  • The Game 365 – hosted by Fran Healy, the program features profiles and interviews of players and coaches with the backdrop of following each episode's guest around for a day in his/her athletic environment.
  • Boomer and Carton in the Morning – an in-studio simulcast of the morning radio show from New York City sports talk station WFAN (660 AM). This show has since moved to CBS Sports Network.
  • Hahn, Humpty & Canty – an in-studio simulcast of the midday radio show from New York City sports talk station WEPN-FM (98.7), hosted by Alan Hahn, Rick DiPietro and Chris Canty.
  • 4 Courses – a general entertainment, half-hour talk show hosted by J. B. Smoove.
  • The Mask – a general entertainment, half-hour talk show hosted by Henrik Lundqvist.
  • People Talking Sports* (*and Other Stuff) — a general entertainment, half-hour late-night talk show hosted by Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson.[11][12]

On-air staffEdit

Current on-air staffEdit

DevilsEdit
IslandersEdit
RangersEdit
SabresEdit

MSG Radio NetworkEdit

Former on-air staffEdit

BroadcastersEdit

New Jersey Devils on MSG

Season Network Play-by-Play Color analyst Ice level reporter Studio host Studio analyst
1999–2000 MSG Mike Emrick (main)
Matt Loughlin (alternate)
Chico Resch Matt Loughlin (main)

New York Rangers on MSG

Season Network Play-by-play Color Commentator Ice level reporter Studio host
1993–94 MSG (main)
MSG II (alternate)
Sam Rosen John Davidson Al Trautwig (main)
Bruce Beck (alternate)
Al Trautwig (main)
Bruce Beck (alternate)

Channel carriage and blackout restrictionsEdit

Upstate New YorkEdit

MSG is available on most cable providers in Upstate New York. Rangers, Devils and Islanders games are blacked out in the primary broadcast territory of the Buffalo Sabres – the Buffalo, Rochester and Albany Capital District television markets. However, Knicks games are broadcast on a temporary alternate channel when there is a conflict with the Sabres – except in Chautauqua County, part of which is within Template:Convert/mi of Cleveland, in the market area of the Cleveland Cavaliers, which broadcast rights with Fox Sports Ohio (as per NBA rules, only games from that team are receivable in that area). The Knicks are also subject to blackout rules in the eastern-most areas of Connecticut, within Template:Convert/mi of Boston. However, Knicks games are not blacked out in favor of the Toronto Raptors in most of Erie (including Buffalo) and Niagara Counties, a territory located within the Template:Convert/mi radius of Toronto. This is most likely because the Raptors' exclusive territory ends at the U.S. border, although select games did air on the Empire Sports Network during its existence and CBC Sports programming is usually not blacked out by U.S. cable operators offering a CBC station.

All Sabres games as well as games featuring the Rangers, Islanders or Devils under certain conditions are viewable on MSG in most of upstate New York (notably Albany, Binghamton and Syracuse). A maximum of 50 to 60 games per team can be broadcast outside the New York City designated market area each season under current NHL rules; this also covers broadcasts in parts of the Hartford/New Haven and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre media markets. The exact number of games aired in outer markets varies each year, depending on that season's NBA and NHL schedules. MSG's website lists which games are subject to blackout, and where, with each region designated as a "zone". Outside Buffalo and Rochester, Knicks games always air on MSG, while MSG Plus carries the Sabres, should both play at the same time.

The presence of Sabres games in the Utica and Albany market led to some controversy, because most cable systems in that market that were not served by Adelphia had not carried the Empire Sports Network for several years, and the fanbase for the Sabres is widely thought to be smaller than that of the New York City-area teams (and even Boston-area teams, as WSBK-TV (channel 38) served the region for several years before each upstate market received their own local affiliates of now-defunct networks UPN and The WB).

Time Warner Cable (which holds a cable service near-monopoly in most of upstate New York) and Cablevision reached carriage deals with provisions that both MSG Plus and SportsNet New York be carried on analog basic tiers in most areas in the upstate region, although some subscribers only receive MSG Plus with a digital receiver. Those deals expired at the end of 2011.

Retransmission negotiationsEdit

MSG was dropped from Dish Network due to a contract dispute in October 2010; the dispute remains unresolved.[14] MSG was removed from Time Warner Cable at midnight on December 31, 2011 as the two companies could not agree on a new carriage contract; the network was restored on all TWC systems on February 17, 2012.[15] MSG HD was not available on Verizon FiOS until several months after a court order forced MSG to provide the network's HD feed to that provider.[16]

Alternate channelsEdit

Along with MSG and MSG Plus, MSG also operates secondary channels, MSG2 and MSG Plus 2, which mainly serve to assist in scheduling the many sporting events it carries. Select New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils games also air on MSG when both teams play concurrently, with one airing on MSG Plus, which along with MSG and its alternate channels are officially referred to as MSG Media. In turn, select Rangers games air on MSG Plus, when Knicks telecasts are shown on MSG and no live game is airing on MSG Plus at the same time. Any sports event to which MSG holds the broadcast rights could air on either channel.

If more than two of the four local teams it carries are playing at the same time, MSG normally goes to the Knicks – the highest-rated property on the channel – except for instances when that night's game is scheduled for a late start time, in which case a Rangers game will air instead. In all other cases, Rangers games are broadcast on MSG2. Devils or Islanders games air on MSG Plus 2. If any teams are out of playoff contention, MSG will sometimes switch the order of priority among its teams.

In the cases of MSG2 and MSG Plus 2, the alternate channels vary. Many cable providers use TVGN to carry the overflow/alternate feed, while satellite providers use an alternate channel. In some cases, these channels are not available outside the New York City area; however, they are offered by DirecTV, Dish Network and Comcast. In order to help alleviate confusion, MSG directs viewers to a special website.

MSG Western New YorkEdit

See also: MSG Western New York

Following the collapse of Empire Sports Network and its parent, Adelphia, MSG also picked up rights to the Buffalo Sabres, and agreed to a 10-year contract in 2006. The Sabres, through its broadcast arm, the Sabres Hockey Network, control the entire broadcast, including the sale of advertising, and pre- and post-game programming.[17][18]

During the inaugural season, all regionally-televised Sabres games were available to viewers outside of the New York City area, falling within MSG's "Zone 3" (Buffalo and Rochester) and "Zone 2" (which encompasses the remainder of Upstate New York and is shared with the Devils, Islanders, and Rangers). In Zone 3, all Sabres games were shown on the main MSG channel, but some games aired in Zone 2 on MSG Plus (then known as FSN New York) instead.[19][20]

As part of a contract extension for the 2016-17 season, MSG entered into a joint venture with Terry and Kim Pegula's ownership group to create an expanded opt-out feed known as MSG Western New York over the former Zone 3. The feed is carried in place of MSG's main network within the Sabres' television market of Upstate New York (defined as virtually all of the state outside the New York City television market). In addition to coverage of Sabres games, the feed also carries Pegula-produced studio programming dedicated to the Sabres and their sister NFL team, the Buffalo Bills.[21]

Metro ChannelsEdit

From the fall of 1998 until the spring of 2005, Cablevision chose not to launch an additional MSG2 channel, instead placing games on its MSG Metro Channels, which were only available in a limited coverage footprint. Sometimes, games were also carried by Riverheadlicensed WLNY-TV (channel 55). During this period, when two of the teams that the MSG channels maintained game broadcast rights to played against one another, only one broadcast would usually be produced using one of the team's announcing staffs (this was either due to MSG's television contracts or a desire to show a different sporting event at the same time).

With the discontinuation of Metro, and the loss of the New Jersey Nets from the network's winter lineup, the MSG channels now produce two broadcasts when two of the area teams with broadcast rights held by the network are playing against each other. Since 2009, the channel now has gone back to producing a single unified broadcast, though it will use two sets of commentators (particularly for Buffalo, where the Sabres' radio announcers are simply dubbed over the MSG broadcast when they play the Rangers, Islanders or Devils).

MSG HDEdit

Msg hd

MSG HD is a high definition simulcast feed of MSG Network, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, with the vast majority of content from MSG and Fox Sports Regional Networks broadcast in HD; as of 2017 only archived and paid programming is broadcast in standard definition. MSG HD is available nationally on DirecTV, Cablevision, Spectrum, Comcast, RCN, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS.

On January 22, 2009, the NHL and MSG became involved in a contract dispute which has resulted in MSG HD and MSG+ HD's broadcasts being pulled from NHL's GameCenter Live service for viewers outside of the primary markets for the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres,[22] with games presented in standard definition and upconverted to a stretched widescreen format. On March 17, 2010, beginning with the game between the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins, MSG HD and MSG+ HD broadcasts returned to NHL Center Ice (as confirmed by Gary Bettman during the NHL Hour broadcast).[23]

Since its launch, MSG Network had blocked Verizon and AT&T from carrying MSG HD on any terms through a controversial guideline imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (known as the "terrestrial exception"), that was implemented to encourage investments in local programming, which stated that television channels that do not transmit via satellite uplink – MSG HD's programming is distributed to cable television providers through a terrestrial infrastructure using only microwave and fiber optic relays – have the authority to decide which pay television providers (cable, satellite or telco) can have access to its programming. Because the network was once owned by Cablevision (and remains under common control by the Dolan family to this day), MSG fought attempts by the telco providers to carry it despite the significant rights fees it could collect from carriage deals with those services. On September 22, 2011, the FCC ordered MSG to negotiate with both Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse for carriage on each system. MSG and Cablevision used every appeal available to keep the HD channels from being carried by both distributors; however on December 14, 2011, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied Cablevision/MSG Holdings' petition for review. Verizon FiOS began carrying MSG HD and MSG+ HD on its New York City area systems the next day, and AT&T U-Verse began carrying the HD feeds on its Connecticut systems later that month.[24]

MSG 3DEdit

On March 24, 2010, MSG Network launched a 3D feed, MSG 3D, available only to Cablevision subscribers in the New York City area on channel 1300; its inaugural broadcast was a game between the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders. This was a one time broadcast and MSG elected not to produce any more telecasts. Channel 1300 was eventually deleted from the system.

Radio divisionEdit

The radio division of MSG, known as the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Radio Network, produces Knicks, Rangers and Red Bulls broadcasts for New York City ESPN Radio station WEPN-FM (98.7) and other radio stations across the region. Prior to the fall of 2004, MSG-produced Knicks, Rangers and MetroStars games aired on WFAN. The coordinating producer of MSG Radio is Frank Moretti.

MSG Network also presents certain game telecasts with a Spanish-language audio track, accessible through the second audio program feature on most television sets, through simulcasts from its radio partners; all Knicks home games and selected away games that are simulcast from WADO (1280 AM), while a Spanish-language track of Red Bulls and Rangers games are simulcast from ESPN Deportes Radio station WEPN (1050 AM).

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://search.proquest.com/docview/118734201
  2. Ferretti, Fred. "TV Cable Company Signs 5-Year Pact for Garden Sports", November 10, 1970, p. 94. 
  3. http://search.proquest.com/docview/123762192
  4. Madison Square Garden Splits Off Sports and Entertainment Divisions, Wall Street Yawns. Retrieved on 18 August 2016.
  5. Madison Square Garden Details Split. Retrieved on 18 August 2016.
  6. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1636519/000163651918000010/tmsgc06302018-10k.htm The Madison Square Garden Company 2018 10-K SEC Filing
  7. https://nypost.com/2017/04/03/msg-networks-is-looking-to-sell/
  8. New York Football Giants Come to MSG Network. MSG.com (2010-10-17). Retrieved on 2010-11-18.
  9. MSG Network to Sing a Different Tune. Multichannel News (2006-05-29). Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
  10. http://www.buffalobroadcasters.com/news/Industry-News:--Revised-radio-ratings-with-public-stations-numbers/34
  11. Brooklyn Nets: Familiar faces debut new show on MSG Thursday night (February 28, 2019). Retrieved on March 5, 2019.
  12. http://www.msgnetworks.com/2017/06/20/msg-networks-announces-launch-of-people-talking-sports-and-other-stuff/
  13. Mike Keenan Joins MSG Network Rangers TV Team. Retrieved on 2009-10-30.
  14. Dish NEtwork Drops MSG. Buffalo News (2010-10-01).
  15. Time Warner, MSG give mixed message. Buffalo News (2011-12-31).
  16. Sapong, Emma (January 1, 2012). FiOS touts addition of MSG broadcasts. The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  17. Sabres Extend MSG Contract. Buffalo Sabres (September 1, 2006). Retrieved on June 24, 2016.
  18. Sabres in strong negotiation position as TV, radio deals near end. Retrieved on 25 June 2016.
  19. 2005-2006 NHL Telecast Schedule. NHL, MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved on 18 October 2016.
  20. Buffalo Sabres 2005-2006 NHL Telecast Schedule. Buffalo Sabres. Retrieved on 18 October 2016.
  21. Fink, James. "Pegula Sports and Entertainment, MSG Networks seal new, long-term deal", Buffalo Business First, American City Business Journals, June 21, 2016. Retrieved on June 22, 2016. 
  22. MSG Hockey MIA in HD Template:Webarchive Sports Couch Potato. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  23. Status of MSG HD? DBSTalk. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
  24. http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1594A1.pdf


External linksEdit






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