SBD/14/Franchises

CHECKETTS OFFICIALLY TAKES THE REIGNS OF MSG

     Dave Checketts officially became President of Madison Square
Garden -- which includes the arena, tyhe Knicks and Rangers, and
MSG Network -- yesterday after almost six months of being the
corporation's acting president.  The move comes three days after
the $1B purchase of MSG by ITT and Cablevision Systems was
formalized.  Checketts said "his main priority is to maintain the
competitiveness of the Knicks and Rangers," but he also wants to
"enhance and create 'franchises' to increase profits satisfactory
to Cablevision and ITT."  Checketts anticipates no changes in MSG
Network's on-air product, adding that "changes will have more to
do with sponsors."  Checketts did say:  "At some point, we'll
explore areas to take advantage of the connection between MSG and
SportsChannel" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).  Many of
Checketts' duties at the Knicks will be delegated to GM Ernie
Grunfeld (N.Y. POST, 3/14).
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