MSG Networks, the cable home of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders, shared on their Q2 2022 Earnings Call that they will launching an in-market streaming service before the end of the calendar year. They shared that they expect to complete a multi-year deal with both the NHL and NBA for the rights.
Andrew Lustgarten, President of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, said on the call:
“We continue to explore different direct-to-consumer models with an eye towards the launch by the end of this calendar year. So while the media landscape continues to evolve, we remain confident in the popularity of our live content and believe that our commitment to innovation will (inaudible) to continue to drive value for partners, advertisers and viewers alike.”
MSG Networks has been in an extended carriage dispute with Comcast, which has seen MSG and MSG+ dark on the largest cable provider since October. They recently extended their distribution agreement with Verizon FIOS.
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On whether launching a service would pose problems with distribution partners, MSG Networks, President & CEO, Andrea Geenberg said:
“We’re certainly mindful of our traditional linear business. Yes, we’re certainly mindful of the important partnerships that we have with our distributors and the benefits, including clearly the revenues and the subscribers that we see from those relationships that there remains continued value in the bundle.
So for us, any DTC offering will take this into consideration. On another note, when we think about the millions of homes in our regions that don’t receive our networks, they are likely to be customers of our affiliates in one way or another.
When asked about the pricing of a MSG Streaming Service, the company was mum on exactly what they will be able to charge for the service.
Recently, Sinclair announced they will be launching an in-market streaming product for their Bally Sports RSNs this year. While they haven’t disclosed pricing, in fundraising documents they indicated that it will cost ~$225 per year.
Last year, MSG confirmed they had the rights to bring MSG, direct-to-consumer, which appear to have expired.
Greenberg said that they are “currently in the process of renewing our agreements with the NBA and NHL for multiple years.”
As I’ve said before, we’ve renewed agreements many times in the ordinary course of business. And for us, we’re quite confident that this time will be no different. I’ve also mentioned in the past that our previous agreements with both leagues included direct-to-consumer rights.