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MSG'S GROWTH AND FUTURE EXAMINED IN WAKE OF HILTON BID
Published January 31, 1997
In the midst of Hilton Hotels' hostile takeover bid of ITT, the economic value of MSG is examined by Sanger & Zipay of NEWSDAY. Under ITT/Cablevision's ownership, MSG's financial performance "has vastly improved," as MSG CEO Dave Checketts drove revenues to $425M in '96, 10% higher than they were the year before. However, with player salaries increasing, and possible renovation facing MSG, "future results may not be such a slam dunk." Financial World editor Michael Ozanian notes the Knicks "have raised ticket prices so high, it's difficult to see much more revenue out of them. The Rangers have more upside." Ozanian adds MSG "is outdated in terms of the amount of revenues it can produce," adding if there is a new buyer for the properties, "they're going to have to think about redoing that building in three to five years: better suites, better locations, more advertising, better concessions" (NEWSDAY, 1/31). TV TALK: Sanger & Zipay write that the MSG Network "is perhaps the most valuable of all the [MSG] properties." And Checketts also desires a radio station. Checketts: "I'd like to have a radio station to promote concerts and our productions and carry our sports. I don't think we would build another WFAN, but we'll have a radio opportunity" (NEWSDAY, 1/31). On "Moneyline," CNN's Sean Callebs examined the possibility that ITT "may be planning on an asset sale of its own" on "Moneyline." Noting ITT's share of the Rangers, Knicks and MSG Network "may be up for grabs," Callebs mentioned News Corp. as a "potential buyer." The Marquee Group CEO Robert Gutkowski: "Fox, from a cable standpoint, doesn't have much leverage to try and get exposure in this marketplace. If they own MSG Network, certainly that will help them from a leverage standpoint." Callebs also mentioned Walt Disney and Wayne Huizenga, although each owns an NHL franchise already, and is prohibited from buying another ("Moneyline," CNN, 1/30).