MSG'S GROWTH AND FUTURE EXAMINED IN WAKE OF HILTON BID
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"is outdated in terms of the amount of revenues it can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).