Emails have poured in since launch about the lack of TV broadcasts of any Islanders preseason games. Let me preface this by saying Don’t Shoot The Messenger. Some of the emailers have pounded me like I’m still in Islanders management and can do something about it. I’m not and I can’t. As a blogger, like the Sugden thing, best I can do is maybe help get the conversation started.
As for why MSG+ isn’t showing any Islanders games while MSG Network seems to show Rangers ex games every other night, that’s an easy one and you know why. The Rangers are owned by Cablevision, the makers of MSG Network. A Rangers broadcast is a three-hour infomercial for the hockey team ownership is not going to pass up.
On the other hand, the Islanders’ television broadcast rights are owned by MSG Network. MSG has the right to decide if they want to spend the money to produce Islanders games in Moncton, Uniondale or anywhere. They choose not to.
Islanders TV’s inability to show these ex games in Canada live and in living colour is a more difficult issue, but the reason is essentially the same. Not only does MSG Network have the broadcast rights for Islanders pre-season games, an impeccable TV industry source tells Point Blank that MSG Network also has the right to give the red light to any other company that wants to show the games.
It’s a fair leap to assume MSG opted to block ITV from broadcasting games live in Moncton, London, PEI or anywhere else. Yes, last year they allowed it. This year, nope.
To be clear, it’s not like the Islanders don’t want to have these games on ITV, MSG+ or anywhere else on the dial. MSG is exercising their contractual rights.
For now, it looks like you’ll have to wait to see the Islanders’ own Emmy Award-winning commentator Billy Jaffe on MSG+ when the regular season begins. While you vent, let me look into rumors I heard in Manhattan the other day about the plan to eliminate Islanders pre-game shows (and perhaps a studio analyst) from MSG+ broadcasts.
BEST MUSH is an occasional column on hockey broadcasting and is named in honor of two columnists – Neil Best of Newsday and Phil Mushnick of the NY Post – who were always professional with me in my old gig.