In naming a successor to ousted CEO Dave Checketts, Madison Square Garden has
tapped internal talent and created a new organizational structure.
Seth Abraham -- who had been responsible for Radio City Entertainment,
Madison Square Garden Network and its sports properties as executive vice
president and chief operating officer for MSG -- has been promoted to president
of MSG, Cablevision Systems Corp. president and CEO James Dolan announced
In his new post, Abraham will assume the additional responsibilities for
facilities, sales and business development of the Garden and Radio City.
Dolan also announced that Steve Mills, who had been executive vice president
of franchise operations of the National Basketball Association's New York
Knicks, is now president, sports-team operations. Mills has oversight for all
business and team-operational matters for the Knicks and the Garden's other
professional-sports teams -- the National Hockey League's New York Rangers and
the Women's National Basketball Association's New York Liberty.
When Checketts was dismissed three weeks ago over disappointing performances
by the Knicks and Rangers and the potential loss of TV rights to Major League
Baseball's New York Yankees, Dolan stepped up to the lead position at MSG and
instituted 'an immediate nationwide search' for the next Garden president.
The elevations of Mills and Abraham are part of a restructuring at MSG that
has established a six-person office of the chairman. Under that setup, Dolan
will continue to serve in his role as chairman of MSG, while Cablevision vice
chairman Robert Lemle remains vice chairman of MSG. Scott Layden, who was
promoted to president and general manager of the Knicks, and Rangers president
and GM Glenn Sather are the other members of the team.
'Looking to the future of our teams and entertainment properties, we are
extremely fortunate to have strong executives who each excels in his field,'
Dolan said in a prepared statement. 'As we form a new office of the chairman for
MSG, I expect that this six-member office will work together to become greater
than the sum of its parts and deliver to fans and consumers successful teams and
the very best entertainment products in one of the world's leading markets.'
MSGN faces a crucible later this month. As part of a recent litigation
settlement with MSGN, YankeeNets -- the entity that controls the baseball team's
TV rights -- has until June 22 to pay the regional sports network $30 million to
purchase 85 regular-season games for the 2002 season. At that point, the company
could launch its own regional service.
YankeeNets may also opt to sell the rights to 65 regular-season games that it
holds to MSGN for $37.5 million.
Most observers anticipate that YankeeNets will opt to bow its own