If you’re a Time Warner Cable subscriber in the New York area and you tried to watch MSG today, you may have noticed that, rather than sports, a message from Time Warner Cable is playing in a loop. TWC and MSG have been in negotiations for a new carriage deal and failing to come to an agreement has resulted in a blackout of MSG as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Not the best way to start the new year, huh? Sports fans in the New York area who rely on MSG through Time Warner to deliver the big games to them may have to look elsewhere as MSG has gone dark on TWC. Time Warner appears to be making it very clear that it was MSG that pulled their channel, not only playing a message in a loop on the vacated MSG channel, but also sending out at email to subscribers, which includes the following:
With the game clock running down, MSG Networks rejected all proposals, refused to engage in any meaningful way, and refused to allow us to keep the channel on. In the end, MSG pulled the plug on Time Warner Cable customers. We regret that MSG Networks has taken away their sports programming, but remind fans that even without MSG, Time Warner Cable will carry nearly 20 percent of this season’s remaining Sabres games, almost 40 percent of the remaining Knicks games, and most of the NHL and NBA playoffs.
The email encourages sports fans to visit TWCConversations.com/MSG. The page includes information on free previews of other sports packages offered by the cable service, and other channels hosting some of the games. The page also includes their complaints of MSG’s demand for a 53% price increase for their programming.
Per the Daily News, the first games TWC subscribers will miss, assuming things aren’t worked out by then, are the Knicks/Raptors basketball game and the Devils/Senators hockey game.
From MSG’s side, their Media President Michael Bair says, “All we have asked is for Time Warner to value our programming in the same way as other TV providers — nothing more, nothing less.”
While the two sides continue to sort things out, subscribers will have to go without the channel indefinitely. And in the end, it could be subscribers (even those of us who don't watch MSG but still have it included in our cable packages) that pay, if/when a deal is finally struck.
Image Credit: Steve Yeater/AP