Comcast last night lost the MSG Networks in Connecticut and parts of New Jersey due to a carriage dispute.
“On September 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST, our agreement to carry MSG Networks expired and we no longer have the rights to carry the channels (MSG and MSG+),” the cable operator said in a statement posted on its web site.
MSG and MSG+ are regional sports channels that have the local TV rights to the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. The channels also air sports news and highlights programs.
MSG Networks has posted an alert at its web site stating that the channels are no longer available on Comcast. But the programmer has yet to update its statement from yesterday explaining why they could be lost.
“MSG Networks and Comcast Xfinity have an agreement that expires on September 30, 2021. Comcast Xfinity intends to drop MSG Networks and access to hundreds of live game telecasts of the Knicks, Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Red Bulls. Remember to share your frustration with Comcast Xfinity and get the games you pay for by calling, emailing and sharing on social media,” MSG states.
Update: MSG this morning issued this statement:
“Right when fans are looking forward to the start of the NBA and NHL seasons, Comcast dropped MSG Networks to try to force us to accept terms they’d never agree to for their own regional sports networks, including SNY in New York. They rejected proposals that are consistent with their current deal and deals we have with other major providers, as well as our offer to keep our programming on air under existing terms so we could continue to work on a longer-term agreement. And even though they’ve taken away hundreds of live Knicks, Devils, Rangers and Islanders games, they continue to charge Xfinity customers the same monthly rate — in addition to a regional sports fee that they increased 22% in January to more than $10 per month. Comcast’s refusal to negotiate is deeply disappointing.”
In its web site post, Comcast suggests alternative ways to continue watching the New York area teams.
“Nationally televised Ranger, Islander and Devils games will be available on TBS and ESPN. Nationally televised Knicks games will be on ESPN and TNT. MSG/MSG+ are available on Fubo. Please check your local listings for games that may be airing in your area,” the cable operator states.
Comcast also said it will reduce the regional sports fee in the affected Connecticut and New Jersey areas, but did not say by how much.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything changes.
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— Phillip Swann