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Up Close or in a Local Bar, MSG, Time Warner Cable Host Fans to a Win-Win

1/30/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

The month-long (and counting) blackout
of MSG and MSG Plus on Time Warner Cable has deprived
the MSO’s subscribers of watching the first-place New York
Rangers and, er, third-place New York Knicks from the comfort
of their home TVs.

The two sides apparently aren’t progressing in talks to restore
MSG and MSG Plus to those 2.3 million subscribers in
the New York DMA. But they made it a little easier for Rangers
and Knicks fans to watch their teams win last Tuesday
(Jan. 24).

The Wire tagged along for
an MSG “viewing party” at The
Blind Pig on E. 14 St. in Manhattan.
The bar’s DirecTV-wired
sets were tuned to the hometeam
National Hockey League
Rangers defeating the Winnipeg
Jets. MSG provided wings and Tshirts,
and ex-defenseman Ron
Greschner signed autographs.

Attendees told The Wire they
appreciated the gesture and
enjoyed the camaraderie of
fellow fans. But they’d rather
have the option of staying home.
“It’s fun,” Ryan Montenegro, 27, said. “I would gladly trade
[all] of this to watch it at home.”

Steven Presser, 43, called it the best of a bad situation.
“I can’t watch it at home, so I gotta watch it
somewhere.”

These fans were neutral as to blame. “It’s
rich people fighting with rich people,” Rob
Weiss, 29, said. “I just want to watch the game.”

Time Warner Cable’s outreach efforts included
a contest
where 10 subscribers
(plus a guest
each) won a free trip
to Charlotte, N.C.,
to see the Knicks
play their National
Basketball Association
rival, the Charlotte
Bobcats, at the … Time
Warner Cable Arena.

Six TWC front-line employees
also won a free trip down, a
hotel stay and a gift card for expenses,
TWC spokesman Bobby
Amirshahi told The Wire.

One lucky subscriber was 22-year-old Jeremy Oved of
Manhattan, whose guest was his brother, Andrew, 20.

They were doubly fortunate in that they watched the
Knicks snap a six-game losing streak against the Bobcats
— at courtside, while their other companions sat in
a corporate box.

Oved told The Wire it was “an amazing experience”
and he loved sitting near the court, where he “kept on
giving the players and the ref an earful.” (Hey, he’s a New
Yorker.)

“Overall, I think it’s been a little bit tough for fans in
New York,” he said of the MSG-TWC standoff .

He said he’s even watched two games so far via video
chat with a friend
who sets his computer
in front of
the TV.

He was philosophical
about the
dispute, and sympathet
ic to his
TWC hosts. “My
opinion has always
been that I want to
have the games on,
but I understand
that there’s something
going on financially,
and I think that as a business person I can
understand that to a certain extent. I don’t think that
they’re going out of their way for all of this media attention.
I just think that financially it’s not feasible at this
point.”

He also was upset that the Knicks (7-11 at press time)
lost the next night.

NBCU Is ‘All In,’
Across TV Sites,
For Super Sunday

With the Peacock Network
presenting the Big Game, it’s
no surprise NBCUniversal’s
game plan for backing Super
Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis mirrors
the New York Giants’ “All
In” motto, reaching across an
array of assets.

NBC, in its first Super Bowl
under Comcast’s watch, is
said to be pulling in a record
average of $3.5 million per
30-second spot for the Feb. 5
telecast, while it sits on what
could be the largest audience in U.S. TV history. The record
was set by last year’s game, with 111 million viewers.

NBC Sports Network (née Versus) will provide more than
18 hours of live coverage from Indy through daily editions,
beginning on Jan. 30, of NBC Sports Talk: Live From the
Super Bowl
. Host Russ Thaler will be joined by an array of
NBC talent, guests and gridiron experts weighing in on
what will unfold between the Giants and the New England
Patriots
in their rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

NBC Sports Network’s inaugural show with Emmy-winning
Bob Costas, Costas Tonight: Live From the Super Bowl, will
air on Feb. 2 from 8-10 p.m.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell will tape a Sports Biz: Game
On episode from Indianapolis the Friday before the
game.

For the first time, Jimmy Fallon’s show will hit the road,
hosting four editions from the host city, including the firstever
Live Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
on Sunday night/early
Monday after the game.

Golf Channel plans a “David Feherty Live” stage show in
Indianapolis on Friday night, followed by a one-hour special
airing at 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore will be on scene
with team Super Bowl coverage, as will Wake Up with Al’s
Stephanie Abrams and Al Roker.

Talent and crews from Today, Access Hollywood, E! News
and Style will all be in Indianapolis.

Bravo’s Top Chef host Tom Colicchio and former contestants
Richard Blais and Antonia Lofaso will create the
perfect tailgate food. Football Night in America’s Tony Dungy
and Rodney Hampton will determine the winner on NBC’s
Super Bowl XLVI Pre-Game Show.

Style will feature a pre-game Super Bowl party-planning
segment with Bill and Giuliana Rancic, and will offer party
tips throughout the week, culminating in a Super Bowl party
reveal during the pre-game show.

Giffords Images Help
C-SPAN Make Case
For Wider TV Angles

C-SPAN used last Wednesday’s (Jan. 25) congressional
send-off for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (the Arizona Democrat
who survived an assassination attempt a year ago) to
underline its recurring pitch to get the House to loosen up
rules on cameras and allow for reaction shots during floor
proceedings.

Currently, C-SPAN taps a House camera that is fixed
on the floor speaker, period, no matter what happens
elsewhere in the chamber. Kind of like those Mars probe
cameras that stay in one place, or the set-ups in the prison
hallways and dusky dining rooms on Ghost Hunters.

C-SPAN pointed out to reporters that the Giffords sendoff
featured an “unusual display of extra TV camera shots.”
They included shots of the family in the gallery and additional
angles C-SPAN said added a lot to the proceedings
and “might lead one to ask, why not permit such camera
shots every day?” C-SPAN for years has been asking House
speakers — who control the cameras — to allow more
angles, to no avail.

The cable-sponsored public-affairs network also saw
as a positive sign the test, starting with last week’s State
of the Union speech, of letting reporters bring iPhones,
BlackBerrys, laptops and tablets — computers, not the
sleeping pills that House debates often make unnecessary
— into the House press gallery.

September