Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (also known as MSG Sports) is an American sports holding company based in New York City.
MSG Sports manages professional sports teams. These include the NBA's New York Knicks and their NBA G League affiliates, the Westchester Knicks, and the NHL's New York Rangers and their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The original company was established in 2010 when Cablevision spun off the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden, MSG Network and other entertainment assets as an independent, publicly traded company.
In 2015, the original company spun off the sports and entertainment division into a separate company and the original company was renamed to MSG Networks, Inc.; the new company took the name “The Madison Square Garden Company”.
On May 31, 1923, Tex Rickard incorporated the New Madison Square Garden Corporation for the purpose of building and operating the third Madison Square Garden. On January 15, 1925, shortly after the Garden opened, the corporation's name was changed to the Madison Square Garden Corporation.
Following the success of the New York Americans, the Madison Square Garden Corporation established the New York Rangers, which began play in 1926. In 1946, at the behest of Knicks president Ned Irish, the Madison Square Garden Corporation became a charter member of the National Basketball Association with the New York Knicks.
On April 7, 1960, the Madison Square Garden Corporation merged with its majority shareholder Graham-Paige. On March 9, 1962, Graham-Paige changed its name to the Madison Square Garden Corporation to reflect their largest asset.
On August 20, 1977, Gulf and Western Industries, which owned 81% of MSG's stock, purchased complete control of the corporation and turned it into a wholly owned subsidiary. At the time of G&W's acquisition, the Madison Square Garden Corporation owned the arena, Knicks, Rangers, three horse tracks (Roosevelt Raceway, Arlington Park, and Washington Park Race Track), Holiday on Ice, and real estate holdings in Long Island, Manhattan, and Chicago. In 1989 Gulf and Western shed its non-media and entertainment assets to become Paramount Communications, reflecting its ownership of Paramount Pictures.
In February 2010, Cablevision spun off the MSG properties, including the sports franchises, into The Madison Square Garden Company.
On September 30, 2015, the MSG Networks division (including MSG Network) and the main MSG operation were both split as two separate companies. The MSG Network division ended up being the former Madison Square Garden Company and the main MSG operation became the spin off company. The original Madison Square Garden Company was renamed to MSG Networks, Inc. and the new company took the name “The Madison Square Garden Company”.
In September 2018, Madison Square Garden began work on a spherical music venue in Las Vegas, called MSG Sphere Las Vegas, planned to open in 2021. Earlier in the year, MSG announced plans to build MSG Sphere London, near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Both venues are designed by Populous architects and are supposed to incorporate highly advanced audio and visual technologies.
On August 17, 2016, MSG acquired a 12% stake in digital media, broadcasting, and events company Townsquare Media from GE Capital.
In January 2017 MSG paid $181 million for a majority stake in nightlife group Tao Group
On July 31, 2017, MSG acquired a controlling stake in professional video gaming team Counter Logic Gaming.
The company formerly owned the New York Liberty of the WNBA, until the team was sold in 2018. The company also formerly operated the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and Rentschler Field in East Hartford under contract with the state of Connecticut until the 2007 season when it was replaced by Northland/Anschutz Entertainment Group.
On several occasion, the Madison Square Garden Company has generated controversy in regard to how it approaches its competition. On two separate occasions they made attempts to block the construction of competing venues in the New York and Los Angeles markets.
West Side Stadium
Before the Madison Square Garden Company was formed, its businesses were part of Cablevision. In 2005, it was proposed that a new West Side Stadium be built for the New York Jets. The stadium would have directly competed with the then-Cablevision owned Madison Square Garden. Cablevision ran TV ads rallying against the proposed stadium which ultimately resulted in the state of New York rejecting the proposal. The rejection of the proposal meant that Madison Square Garden would not have a nearby venue competing for concert revenue. The rejection of the venue also had a negative impact on New York's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which was ultimately defeated by London.
Los Angeles Clippers arena proposal
In 2018, the Madison Square Garden Company was behind a lawsuit against the city of Inglewood in an attempt to stop the construction of a new basketball arena for the Los Angeles Clippers. The new arena would compete directly with The Forum which is owned by The Madison Square Garden Company. Another lawsuit from a local community group was filed to block the construction of the venue in June 2018. Inglewood mayor James Butts suggested that the lawsuit was brought about by "business interests from out-of-state", suggesting that the Madison Square Garden Company were using this group to not have a competing arena near by. James Dolan is said to be trying to avoid being deposed in the case. In December 2018, the Los Angeles Clippers countersued the Madison Square Garden Company alleging that they are trying to prevent competition from a new arena by trying to stop its construction.
In March 2019, leaked emails revealed that Irving Azoff attempted to lure the Los Angeles Lakers back to The Forum after their lease at the Staples Center was up. Despite nothing coming of the proposal, Azoff's proposal to re-purpose The Forum was seen as a way of preventing the LA Clippers from building their own arena in Inglewood and ensuring that the Madison Square Garden Company got an unfair advantage over rival AEG, which already owns part of the Lakers. In the summer of 2019 it was reported that the company had spent large amounts of money trying to influence Inglewood's mayoral election in the hopes of preventing the construction of the competing arena. In addition, the company also financially supported community groups and lawsuits seeking to prevent the construction of the new arena. The lawsuit became moot in March 2020, when Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announced that he would purchase The Forum for $400 million. The Forum will be repurposed as a dedicated concert venue.
- James L. Dolan – Executive Chairman and CEO
- Andrew Lustgarten – President
- Victoria Mink – Chief Financial Officer
- Steve Mills – President, Basketball Operations – New York Knicks
- John Davidson – President, Hockey Operations – New York Rangers
- Miller, Ben (April 20, 2020). Madison Square Garden Entertainment spin-off is complete. New York Business Journal.
- Chin, Kimberly (November 7, 2019). Madison Square Garden to Spin Off Entertainment Unit. The Wall Street Journal.
- Moody's Industrial Manual, 1941
- (2016) Rangers vs. Islanders: Denis Potvin, Mark Messier, and Everything Else You Wanted to Know about New York's Greatest Hockey Rivalry. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-6132-1932-4.
- Eskenazi, Gerald. "Ned Irish Retiring July 1 After 40 Years at Garden", May 23, 1974.
- "Graham-Paige Preferred Holders Vote to Absorb Madison Square Garden", April 8, 1960.
- "Name Change Set by Graham-Paige", March 9, 1962.
- Chass, Murray (August 28, 1994), ITT-Cablevision Deal Reported To Buy Madison Square Garden, <https://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/28/nyregion/itt-cablevision-deal-reported-to-buy-madison-square-garden.html>. Retrieved on June 29, 2009
- Sandomir, Richard. "ITT Sells Cablevision Control Over Madison Square Garden", March 7, 1997. Retrieved on August 5, 2018.
- Riddell, Kelly. "Cablevision Spins Off MSG to Focus on Cable Franchise", Bloomberg, February 10, 2010. Retrieved on January 18, 2013.
- Madison Square Garden Splits Off Sports and Entertainment Divisions, Wall Street Yawns. Retrieved on August 18, 2016.
- Madison Square Garden Details Split. Retrieved on August 18, 2016.
- https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1636519/000163651918000010/tmsgc06302018-10k.htm The Madison Square Garden Company 2018 10-K SEC Filing
- "Las Vegas Breaks Ground On INSANE New Venue", Your EDM, September 30, 2018. (en-US)
- "First visuals revealed of Populous' spherical London arena", Dezeen, April 4, 2018. (en-US)
- "Populous to build spherical music venues in Vegas and London", Dezeen, February 14, 2018. (en-US)
- Cimilluca, Dana. "Madison Square Garden Takes 12% Stake in Townsquare Media", August 17, 2016.
- "MSG Pays $181M For Controlling Stake In Nightlife Company Tao Group", February 1, 2017. Retrieved on February 4, 2020.
- The Madison Square Garden Company x CLG - CLGaming.net.
- "The Connecticut Development Authority Selects Facilities Manager for Hartford Civic Center" Archived copy. Archived from the original on August 2, 2010. Retrieved on November 20, 2009.
- Field, Rentschler. Rentschler Field.
- Staff, Curbed (January 30, 2015). How the New York Jets Very Nearly Got a West Side Stadium.
- Inglewood Mayor Butts Slams Azoff MSG Entertainment Lawsuit.
- Chiland, Elijah (June 19, 2018). Inglewood residents sue to block Clippers arena.
- James Dolan Really Does Not Want To Be Deposed in the Forum Fight with Inglewood (July 2, 2018).
- LA Clippers launch MSG countersuit in Inglewood arena row - SportsPro Media.
- Must Reads: Lakers explored leaving Staples Center for return to Forum, emails reveal (March 14, 2019).
- Dillon, Stefan Bondy, Nancy. James Dolan and MSG are waging a war on Inglewood over new Clippers arena project.
- Los Angeles Clippers Owner Buys The Forum In Pick & Roll Toward Building New Arena. Deadline.
- John Davidson Named Rangers President (May 17, 2019). Retrieved on May 29, 2019.
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