MSG Upbeat On Fuse, Knicks

Ex-Wives-of-RockThe New York Knicks are off to a fast start, but the Madison Square Garden Co. believes Fuse, its music-oriented network, could be a franchise player.
“Really one of the big potential growth vehicles,” said MSG CEO Hank Ratner at a recent investor event.
The network targeting 18- to-34-year-olds is moving ahead with a news show and carried a reality series, “Ex-Wives of Rock” this fall, while it also gathers programming from concerts at MSG-owned arenas.
Prime-time ratings in Fuse’s key demo through most of October are flat in the C3 metric at a 0.01, according to one metric. Fuse recently cut a distribution deal with Dish Network, increasing its reach and adding to its affiliate-fee base.
“The economics of basic cable networks are quite wonderful,” Ratner said, while adding there are opportunities for international expansion and on multiple platforms.
As for MSG, the company is working on a new “large-scale spectacular” for its Radio City Music Hall and has recently taken control of the Forum in the Los Angeles area.
The company is in the middle of an expensive remodeling of the Madison Square Garden arena, which will have a Budweiser Fan Deck and other parts sponsored by Chase.
MSG is suffering as the New York Rangers aren’t playing, but the Knicks are 16-5 and play on the MSG regional sports network.
On Thursday, MSG’s shares at one point reached a 52-week high.

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