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MSG & Time Warner: MAKE A DEAL, ALREADY!

For a month and a half, Time Warner Cable customers have been without MSG and MSG+.  Monday, executives from both companies confirmed to 1045theteam.com that there were no negotiations scheduled.  And I’ve just about had it.

Courtesy of Time Warner Cable Offical Facebook Page

Two years of negotiations aimed at keeping MSG and MSG+ on the televisions of Time Warner Cable customers failed on January first, and ever since, a public relations war has raged, with little, if any, such passion being taken to the board room.  Representatives from both companies have barely sat down for a cup of coffee, let alone serious talks that could yield a resolution.  Each has stubbornly stuck to party lines, refusing to budge an inch.  They’ve taken their respective ball, and gone home.

You know I used to lack the ability for compromise.  There was a time when if I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, I would take my ball and go home.  But you know what happened?  I went to middle school.  I grew up.  I learned how to be an adult.  Now I know that there is more at stake in these negotiations than in the games of school yard puck from my youth, but you mean to tell me that we couldn’t make a deal in two years of negotiations, and a month and a half of actual blackout?  Look, we haven’t been told all of the specifics, and I don’t know who’s right.  But frankly?  I don’t care, because I know one thing to be true: they’re both wrong.

In what has become, at times, an ugly war of words, each side has vied for public support.  Each has claimed to be the multi-billion dollar organization that has the back of the average Joe.  Each has tried to paint themselves the giant who wants to watch over the little guy.  But can we be honest for a minute?  Can we put the swords down and just be real?  Can we answer your commercials directly, for just this moment?  Neither of you cares about the fans.  You don’t care about what we want, or about what’s fair.  Let’s stop trying to make this about anything more than profit margin.  You’re both publicly traded companies with shareholders to answer to, we get it.  Bottom line is number one, and we’re a distant two, and that’s fine.  But if you’re going to screw us, at least be honest to us about it?

Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

In case you hadn’t inferred this from the three paragraphs of ranting above, I’m not an objective observer.  I’m a die hard Ranger fan.  I’m a guy who would love to jump on the vastly expanding bandwagon that is called “Linsanity.”  I’m a fan who, for a month and a half, has lived off box scores and Sports Center highlights.  And I’m pissed.  I’m pissed because I’ve missed a month and a half of a Ranger season in which they haven’t been a crushing disappointment, because I’ve missed the beginning of Linsanity, and because every time I’m stuck watching Blue Jackets-Kings in lieu of Rangers-Bruins, I find myself fighting the urge to grab the remote and jam it so far into my brain that I will quite simply be dead.  And I don’t think I’m alone.  I’m fairly certain that I’m just one of the many Capital Region sport fans who are furious that the problem hasn’t been solved.

But we’re not CEO’s.  We don’t know the inside baseball involved with billion dollar negotiations.  We wouldn’t have a clue how to engage in successful talks with our counterparts.  But you know what we would know?  We would know that at some point we would have to actually talk to our counterparts.  That at some point, if we wanted to make a deal, it might actually be a good idea to pick up the phone and call my adversary.  That scheduling talks may even be a good place to start.  And maybe that’s the most horribly depressing part of this whole ordeal – the fact that it seems that the limited knowledge I’ve just outlined would color us indefinitely more qualified than those currently “conducting” these negotiations.

Am I being harsh?  Maybe.  I’m sure that the higher ups of these respective companies are just doing what they think is in the best interest of their shareholders, which is both their right and responsibility.  But do I have a right to be harsh?  Certainly.  A Ranger season, and a service for which I pay has been withheld from me the past forty-six days because these two companies haven’t mastered the art of compromise, and don’t seem the least bit interested in trying.  So please, for the sake of Knick fans, for the sake of Ranger fans, for the sake of Islander, Devil and Sabre (though maybe it’s a blessing that Buffalo can’t watch their team) fans, and for God’s sake, please, get a damn deal done!  And if nothing else, at least start talking about getting a deal done! Hell, just start talking about setting a time when you’ll start talking about getting a deal done!  Give us something, because as far as our sports are concerned, you’ve taken from us, everything.  Fix it.  Fix it now.

@JoeBianchino

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