SBJ/November 27 - December 3, 2006/This Weeks News

New sponsors for ‘50 Greatest’ and MSG NY

MSG’s two-month-old rebranding already is starting to pay ad sales dividends, as the network has signed multiple sponsors for both its “50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden” and “MSG NY” shows.

A New York HMO will sponsor the series, which
features MSG moments like Ali-Frazier 1971.

MSG has signed New York-based HMO HIP to join Saab and Anheuser-Busch as presenting sponsors around the “50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden” documentary series, which runs weekly on Tuesday nights. The 10-part series started Oct. 31 and ends Jan 9.

Saab and Anheuser-Busch are presenting sponsors of the series; HIP is the presenting sponsor for a “50 Greatest Moments”-branded weekend that will be wrapped around games at MSG arena and include up to three on-air marathon showings of the documentary series.

Each of the three sponsors spends in the low-to-mid seven figures in total with the network, beyond their “50 Greatest Moments” sponsorships. The Saab and Anheuser-Busch presenting sponsorships for the documentary series alone are worth in the low seven figures. Network officials would not say how much HIP’s sponsorship is worth.

The series is about 85 percent sold, which is the equivalent of about one more “participating sponsorship” package, said Mike Chico, executive vice president of ad sales for MSG.

MSG relaunched Oct. 5 with programming that moves beyond sports and includes entertainment and events that occur at MSG.

Another sponsorship that Chico directly attributed to the RSN’s relaunch was with General Motors, which signed on as a co-presenting sponsor for “MSG NY,” a 30-minute sports news and entertainment program that airs Tuesday through Saturday nights. Bacardi is the other sponsor of the show.

Chico pegged the value of the GM deal at “millions of dollars.”

The most unique aspect of these sponsorships is HIP’s designation as presenting sponsor of a “50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden” themed weekend Dec. 2 and 3 that will see the NBA Knicks host the Toronto Raptors and the NHL Rangers host the New York Islanders. During the weekend, all attendees will get a chance to win a pair of tickets for 50 upcoming Garden events.

MSG will promote the series through highlights on GardenVision and a series of trivia questions that attendees can answer through text messages. There will also be a “50 Greatest Moments” T-shirt giveaway.

Several former players will be at the games, including ex-Knicks Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Pearl Washington and Dick Barnett.

As part of its sponsorship, HIP will receive arena signage, exposure on the GardenVision, access to a suite and VIP level tickets.

HIP also will be the presenting sponsor of all “50 Greatest” marathon broadcasts on MSG, three of which are planned. One ran on Thanksgiving, one is running on Christmas and the third has not been scheduled yet. HIP gets opening and closing billboards and commercial spots during the marathon.

“This is a unique interweaving of the ‘50 Greatest’ throughout live games, MSG and merchandising,” Chico said.

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