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Cable Operators

With TWC-MSG Feud Over, The ‘Linsanity’ Heightens

2/27/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks’ overnight
point-guard sensation, continues to captivate the basketball
world inside and outside of Madison Square Garden.
Lin, the Harvard grad and erstwhile benchwarmer,
has been lighting up the National Basketball Association,
made the cover of Sports Illustrated for a second consecutive
week and continues to generate a “lin-tany” of playful
headlines.

A pair of recent Knicks’ telecasts, the Feb. 20 game
against the New Jersey Nets and the Feb. 17 contest versus
the New Orleans Hornets, dunked 7.34 and 7.32 ratings,
respectively, in the New York DMA, and now stand
as the highest-ranking MSG Network regular-season
telecasts since the RSN began tracking the measure with
the tipoff of the 1988-89 NBA season.

During the first nine games after Lin became a starter
on Feb. 6 versus the Utah Jazz, MSG’s Knicks telecasts averaged
a 4.87 rating in the Big Apple. Th at’s higher than the
4.26 average for Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees
2011 season telecasts on the big RSN in town, YES Network.

Even the Feb. 22 telecast against the Atlanta Hawks —
the Knicks led from the midway point of the first quarter
and by as much as 28 points ahead of a 99-82 triumph
— drew a 6.46 preliminary rating, according to Nielsen.

The Lin phenomenon was also front and center in politicians’
remarks surrounding the Feb. 17 resolution of the
48-day license-fee impasse that had kept MSG and sister
service MSG Plus off Time Warner Cable systems in New
York State since the RSNs pulled their signals on Jan. 1.

Deal details have been scant. Much was made during
the contract contretemps about the operator claiming
there was an agreement in early December calling for
a 6.5% increase in monthly subscriber fees, before MSG
upped its ask to 53%. MSG maintained those ratios were
a “mischaracterization.”

Many wonder if the difference was split, as was the
case back in 2005, when then-New York State Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer got involved and the parties inked
the contract that expired on Jan. 1. Disagreement pervades
here, too, with some saying the rates were again
halved, while others suggest the fees didn’t nearly approach
the middle ground.

It remains unclear whether TWC secured TV Everywhere
rights — all the rage in today’s programming
world — through the completed negotiations.

National music network Fuse, a casualty as the MSO
dropped it on Dec. 16, was restored through the new
deal, with the service returning to 7.4 million TWC
homes in the same channel positions, according to MSG
officials. Neither party has said what, if any, license fee
has been apportioned to the network under the new deal.

Meanwhile at the Garden last Wednesday, the Wire
took in all the oohs and aahs for every Lin assist, bucket
and missed shot alike against Atlanta. World champion
New York Giant Osi Umenyiora was interviewed courtside
by Jill Martin, but the defensive end was upstaged
by linebacker teammate Michael Boley, who preened in
his Lin T-shirt.

The GardenVision overhead scoreboard displayed
Knicks engaged in hip-hop karaoke. Naturally, the
crowd’s biggest yuks were reserved for Lin’s awkward
singing. The Garden’s playlist also included Iggy Pop’s
classic “Lust for Life” during halftime, but there was no
dubbing and subbing, as MSG analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier
might replace “Lin” for “Lust” — at least not in that
“lindition.”

Bill Murray Interview?
A ‘Cinderella Story’
For Golf’s Feherty

Neither of Golf Channel’s Monday-night dream team appear
to be staying up nights waiting for 3D golf coverage
to become the norm.

David Feherty and Hank Haney talked with reporters
last week in advance of the new seasons of their Golf
Channel prime time series Feb. 27, The Haney Project
at 9 p.m. followed by Feherty, expanded to an hour this
season, at 10 p.m.

Asked by The Wire to comment on 3D coverage at
The Masters, former pro golfer Feherty — who covers
the august event in
Augusta, Ga., for CBS
Sports — did not appear
enthusiastic about
the technology. “You,
know, if you have to
wear the glasses in
order to see it, I’m not
a huge fan to be honest
with you.” Feherty said.
“I don’t know how much
it would really change
things,” Haney added.

Feherty said he
thought he could land a
Tiger Woods interview
for this season’s 18
episodes (including two that will air live), as well Jack
Nicklaus
and Tom Weiskopf, but it was about finding
the right time and place. He was hopeful, but less defi nitive,
about Bill Murray, who he identified as one of the
interviews he would most like to get, but hadn’t yet.

Tongue apparently not in cheek, Feherty said Murray
was “one of the most important fi gures” in golf’s modern
era because of the movie Caddyshack, which had made
sport of everything that was wrong with country club golf.
“I think it brought golf to a lot of people who would otherwise
not have been interested in the sport,” Feherty said.

Haney, who famously tried to improve Charles Barkley’s
golf swing in a previous season, appeared to
like The Wire’s suggestion that he invite Barkley impersonator-
extraordinaire Frank Caliendo on the show, as
Barkley, to see if Haney could improve his game. “We
have so many people who are interested in the show,”
he said, “but I like that idea in particular so I’m going to
think about that.”

Bright House Will
Herd Elephants
At RNC in Tampa

Some 50,000 delegates, alternate delegates, media and
other guests are expected to descend on the Tampa Bay
area in late August for the Republican National Convention.
Bright House Networks plans on being ready for
them — technologically speaking.

The MSO last week was named the official telecommunications
provider of the RNC, slated for Aug. 27-30.
Bright House will provide the complete video, voice and
data infrastructure around the event at the Tampa Bay
Times Forum
, where the MSO is currently a major marketing
sponsor and service provider, and the Tampa Bay
Convention Center
.

Services include dedicated-access Internet services
scalable from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps and metro Ethernet,
according to Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate
communications and Web strategies at Bright House.
The MSO will also offer its Metro Ethernet product sets
and will supply hosting services, 24/7 network management
and technical support.

Maki said convention attendees will also find Bright
House Networks WiFi in some Tampa outdoor areas, as
part of its public initiative. In anticipation of increased
network demand in downtown Tampa, Bright House
Networks plans to expand its fiber infrastructure in and
around key locations.

“Network experts have surveyed and verified existing
facilities around the city and are already underway to
extend fiber optic networks already serving millions of
Florida businesses and residents,” she said. “We will
be certain that Bright House Networks’ infrastructure
is capable of handling the always-on communications
needs of the thousands of attendees expected.”

Bright House is already working to enhance the communications
infrastructure within the Tampa Bay Times
Forum, just as the owners are upgrading the brick-andmortar
facility itself, Maki said.

Although the Democrats have yet to announce the
telecommunications provider for their convention in
early September in Charlotte, N.C., it is expected that
the nation’s No. 2 MSO will serve in a similar capacity
there at Time Warner Cable Arena, where it supplies
a customized TV and Internet package, and at Bank of
America Stadium
(tailored TV services).

September