SBJ/April 1 - 7, 2002/Marketingsponsorship

MSG touts new format with aggressive ads

A large banner announces MSG's theme.

Madison Square Garden Network is launching a $10 million advertising campaign to tout its new 24-hour-a-day format.

The "This Is Our Town" campaign, developed with New York ad firm Bouchez-Kent and Co., will roll out on television, in newspapers, in movie theaters and on billboards around New York throughout the year. It is the most aggressive repositioning campaign in the 32-year history of MSG Network, whose new look debuts today.

Owned by Cablevision Systems Corp., MSG Network holds a preferred position when it comes to ad spending. The majority of commercials will run on its own network and affiliates, and they feature in-house stars such as Marv Albert and Al Trautwig. A six-story-high banner promoting MSG Network will hang outside Madison Square Garden.

"We're in a great position to leverage all of our properties," said Steve Mars, vice president of marketing at MSG Network. Cablevision also owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, both of which have games broadcast by MSG Network, among other properties.

The revamped MSG Network will include an expanded "MSG SportsDesk"; a new show, "Talk of Our Town," that will run for three hours every weekday; and 50 New York Mets games.

What MSG Network won't have for the first time since 1988 is New York Yankees games. Cablevision lost the rights to broadcast the team last year when the Yankees announced they would form their own cable concern, YES Network.

MSG Network reaches more than 8 million cable subscribers in the Northeast.

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