Lack of Time Warner Deal May Pull Plug on Knicks Broadcast

By Ben Fractenberg on December 19, 2011 11:06am 

MANHATTAN — The Knicks recently gained Tyson Chandler, but may be losing Time Warner.

The Madison Square Garden Network, which televises the Knicks, may be dropped by the cable provider over a contract dispute, MSG said.

“We have been attempting to negotiate a new agreement with Time Warner Cable for close to two years, and are simply asking them to pay fair and reasonable rates that are consistent with what other providers pay for our programming — nothing more,” MSG Media president Michael Bair, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable is not interested in reaching a fair agreement and, in fact, is not interested in conducting productive negotiations on behalf of its customers. Because of that, we suggest that our customers switch providers before Time Warner Cable pulls MSG’s networks off its systems.”

The agreement between MSG and Time Warner is ending on Dec. 31, meaning Knicks fans may be out of luck come the new year.

Time Warner countered that MSG was asking for unreasonable rates and that it is MSG's decision if its events are covered by the cable provider.

"We value sports and understand that costs are rising.  We’re willing to pay the increase MSG originally wanted to prevent them from shutting the channels off while we continue to negotiate.  MSG refused," Time Warner said in a statement.

The cable provider added that MSG is also demanding they include the music channel Fuse.

"Less than 1% of our customers watch Fuse, according to national ratings information. We have to make tough choices to keep prices reasonable for our customers, particularly in the case of channels that so few customers watch," Time Warner's statement said.

"That’s why we no longer carry Fuse."

MSG said in the event a deal is not brokered, Knicks fans can still watch the games by switching to a provider like DIRECTV or Verizon FiOS.

MSG also carries games by the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, New York Liberty and New York Red Bulls.

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