Cablevision Systems Corp. vice chairman Hank Ratner was named vice chairman of the Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO’s Madison Square Garden unit.
Ratner, who was named vice chairman of Cablevision in January, will continue that role in addition to his new one.
In his new role, Ratner will join MSG’s office of the chairman, which oversees its sports teams (the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks, the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers and the Women’s NBA’s New York Liberty), entertainment properties, MSG Network, the MSG arena complex, Radio City Music Hall and the Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center.
The office of the chairman is led by Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan. Dolan also serves as chairman of MSG.
Additional members include Seth Abraham, president of MSG/Radio City Entertainment; Scott Layden, president and general manager of the Knicks; Steve Mills, president of sports-team operations; and Glen Sather, president, GM and head coach of the Rangers.
Ratner is essentially replacing Robert Lemle, who retired as vice chairman and general counsel of Cablevision in January.
"Hank has been instrumental in developing and implementing the strategic direction of the overall company," Dolan said in a prepared statement. "We also rely on his thoughtful judgment, insights and leadership as we have pursued strategic initiatives and transactions that have contributed to Rainbow [Media Holdings Inc.’s] and Cablevision’s growth, as well as the development of our sports business."
Dolan added, "Given his excellent track record, we have no doubt that Hank will be a meaningful addition to MSG’s office of the chairman."
Ratner joined Cablevision in 1987 as assistant general counsel and was most recently vice chairman of Rainbow, but he is perhaps best known as a dealmaker.
He was instrumental in negotiating the sale of Rainbow’s Bravo network to General Electric Co.’s NBC television unit in 2002. Among his many other deals were negotiations with News Corp. that led to the creation of Fox Sports Net and to Fox’s $850 million investment in Rainbow’s sports properties; as well as Cablevision’s purchase of MSG, the Knicks, the Rangers and MSGN.
Ratner said in an interview that his focus won’t necessarily be on deal-making, but rather on MSG’s overall strategy.
"Since coming back over to Cablevision, I have been spending a lot of my time with Jim [Dolan] focusing on the general direction and strategy of the company," he said. "Since MSG is an integral piece of the company, it just seemed a logical extension."