TV Answer Man, I heard that MSG will soon have an app so you can watch the Knicks and Rangers without getting a cable sub. Do you know how much it will cost and when it will start? — Marcel, New York. 

Marcel, MSG Networks announced yesterday that it will launch a streaming service this summer that will enable fans in the tri-state New York area to watch Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres games without a pay TV subscription.

The cost? $29.99 a month and $309.99 annually. If that fee seems high, the monthly price is the same as NESN 360 which offers Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins games in New England without a pay TV sub. (NESN 360’s annual price is $329.99.) There are few coincidences in the TV industry.

MSG officials say the new service, called MSG+, will expand its audience by reaching fans who have cut the cord in recent years. In addition, Comcast subscribers have been without MSG since October 2021 due to a carriage dispute.

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“MSG Networks is delighted to be able to offer fans more ways to watch our compelling and award-winning content,” Andrea Greenberg, MSG Networks CEO, said in a statement. “The introduction of MSG+ this summer will be a significant milestone for our company and will offer a mix of subscription options for fans who do not subscribe to a traditional, bundled pay television subscription.”

In addition to the monthly and annual subscriptions, MSG said fans will be able to order single games for $9.99 each. MSG+ will also be available for free to MSG’s traditional pay TV subscribers on cable, satellite and live streaming services.

The launch of MSG+ is part of an industry trend with regional sports networks offering standalone services for cord-cutters. In addition to NESN 360, the Bally Sports RSNs and the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers games are available without a pay TV subscription. The Yes Network, which does the New York Yankee games, and the Marquee Sports Network, which does the Chicago Cubs, have also signaled interest in launching cord-cutter apps.

With cable and satellite subs declining, the RSNs are seeking new revenue sources, particularly from the growing cord-cutter audience. The RSN industry has seen its subscribers and revenue shrink in the last few years and the Bally Sports operating unit is contemplating filing bankruptcy to reorganize. Warner Bros. Discovery has said it doesn’t plan to continue broadcasting games on the AT&T-named RSNs after March 31.

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Marcel, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann