Analyst Puzzled By Msg's Ads In Battle With Time Warner
As part of its ongoing battle with Time Warner Cable over carriage fees, the MSG cable sports network serving the New York area is distributing flyers and buying ads notifying TWC subscribers that they may not be able to watch New York Knicks basketball games beginning Jan. 1 and urging them to switch to rival DirecTV, Verizon FIOS, or RCN instead. (DISH network does not carry MSG.) The ads have left BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield puzzled since they do not mention Cablevision, which spun off MSG last year. (James Dolan remains chairman of both companies.) Moreover, as Greenfield noted in a message to clients on Wednesday, they do mention Verizon FIOS, with which Cablevision had waged a long legal battle in an effort to block the telcom from carrying MSG. It only allowed FIOS to carry MSG's HD broadcasts last week following a court order. Greenfield described the ads "rather ironic" and remarked, "We find it hard to believe Cablevision would have ever marketed switching to FIOS when MSG was under the Cablevision corporate umbrella."