MSG Network, Time Warner Cable Back (L)In Business

It's been nearly seven weeks since Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York were deprived of programming from MSG Networks due to a dispute between the two entities. But a Knicks seven-game winning streak powered by Linsanity has fixed that, as they have resolved their dispute this afternoon. (Photo composite.)

This afternoon, Time Warner Cable and MSG Network have reached an agreement, putting an end to a 48-day Lin-passe.

(Okay – so the “Lin” thing doesn’t quite work well with words starting with “im.”)

Richard Sandomir and Howard Beck from The New York Times report that the two parties, joined by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D), have announced the end of a blackout of MSG’s networks to the nearly 3 million Time Warner Cable subscribers, most of which are in New York City.

“It’s over,” Sandomir tweeted today just after 3 PM. “MSG-TWC standoff over.”

The Knicks, who host the New Orleans Hornets tonight at the Garden, have won seven straight games, thanks in large part to white-hot point guard Jeremy Lin, and Time Warner Cable subscribers have been missing out (save for national broadcasts on networks such as TNT) on Lin’s heroics as a result of the impasse.

As if on cue, local sports media columnists had been wondering whether or not “Linsanity” would be a major pawn in helping MSG and Time Warner to reach a deal. Prior to the Knicks’ recent contest against Sacramento, a spokesman for Time Warner and a representative for MSG appeared on Mike Francesa’s WFAN radio program to state their respective cases. The next day met intervention from Governor Cuomo, as well as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“I applaud both Mr. Dolan and Mr. Britt and their companies,” said Gov. Cuomo in a statement, referring to MSG executive chairman James Dolan – who is also a sitting chairman of Time Warner Cable city rival Cablevision – and Time Warner Cable President/CEO Glenn Britt. “I thank them for being responsive to the needs of New Yorkers.”

MSG’s networks are expected to be restored to Time Warner Cable systems before tip-off of tonight’s Knicks/Hornets game, which is scheduled for 8 PM. Note the start time – the game was originally scheduled to air nationally on ESPN, but after perusing their records in late January, the Worldwide Leader opted for a 76ers/Mavericks game instead.

So tonight, after most of New York City was deprived of Linsanity, virtually everyone outside of New York City will be Lin-convenienced. Kinda like a reverse Week 15 Patriots/Broncos situation with regards to New York.

“Considering the ratings Lin and the Knicks are generating, it’s highly likely in hindsight [ESPN executives] regret making the switch,” a source told the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman. “But who knew?”

Actually, nobody saw Linsanity coming. Which is why, had the Knicks been mired in a seven-game slump, instead of a seven-game winning streak, commanded by the most unlikelist of heroes, Knicks games – as well as NHL games involving all three New York City-area teams, as well as the Sabres in upstate New York – would all but be guaranteed to remain blacked out to Time Warner subscribers well into the springtime.

And Time Warner might still have been charging subscribers for MSG Network despite not being able to air it, as CBS New York reports. (Now that the Attorney General’s got some free time, let’s send him that way.)

During the nearly seven-week stalemate, MSG had been losing as much as $10 million per month in Time Warner subscriber fees. So up until this point, they had lost as much as Amare Stoudemire’s entire salary for the 2011-12 season ($18,217,705) plus three times Jeremy Lin’s salary for the year ($762,195).

Of course, the million dollar question is, with both parties striking a deal, does this mean that Time Warner will agree to the 54% increase that MSG is asking for, after reneging on a proposed increase of just 6.5%?

To be continued… In the meantime, enjoy Linsanity, Time Warner Cable subscribers.

Enjoy paying that Linsane cable bill later.

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