MSG Varsity, PSAL Continue Rights Negotiations


Cablevision's MSG Varsity channel and the New York City Department of Education continue to negotiate a deal that would add more high school sports contests to the multiplatform service.
Last month, the Panel for Educational Policy gave its okay for MSG Varsity, a strong local programming asset and retention vehicle for the MSO, to negotiate a deal that would allow the service to televise PSAL athletic contests. The PSAL action would join the roster of other high school games and activities that MSG Varsity --  which launched on Sept. 24, 2009 -- televises from around the metro New York area, including Long Island, lower Connecticut and Westchester County. The PSAL is the largest high school association in the country.
Since the panel voted its approval, the DOE and MSG Varsity have been in deal talks.
"Nothing has been finalized yet," said a DOE spokeswoman, noting that the parties are discussing price and distribution within New York City, among other considerations. She noted it's "hard to say" when a deal would be struck, but the PSAL was hopeful it would come in time for the kickoff of the 2011 football season.
"We are extremely pleased at the prospect of this partnership between MSG Varsity and the PSAL, which we believe will deliver significant value to New York City students, parents, educators and the community at large," said MSG Varsity.

According to published reports, the value of the two-year deal, with the funds being disbursed to the PSAL and the schools, was in the $500,000 range.

Another issue centers around carriage of the PSAL games in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, NYC boroughs serviced by Time Warner Cable. Cablevision, the New York metro area's predominant operator, provides video and other services to subscribers in Brooklyn and The Bronx.
In the past, when MSG Varsity, which also offers content online and through interactive services, has aired games that have taken place in TWC regions, the operators have often shared footage.