Subscribers of Time Warner Cable woke up New Year's morning to find the sports channels MSG Network and MSG+ missing from their cable TV line-up.
The New York cable company says fans may miss games featuring the New York Knicks, Rangers and Islanders; the Buffalo Sabres; and New Jersey Devils. That's because it has failed to reach an agreement with the MSG networks owner, Madison Square Garden Co.
It is the latest spat between a cable company and a channel provider that underscores the friction on both sides over the fees carriers pay for channels.
According to Time Warner Cable, MSG wanted a 53 percent increase in the rates it charges the cable network for its games. Time Warner said this demand came after the two companies had already agreed to a 6.5 percent rate increase last year.
"We hope the fans will remind MSG that in these economic times, no one can afford to pay 53 percent more for their channel," said Mike Angus, senior vice president, Content Acquisition, for Time Warner Cable.
MSG says no agreement has been reached and has urged its customers to switch providers.
Michael Bair, president of MSG Media, disputes Time Warner Cable's numbers.
"The numbers that Time Warner Cable is reporting are categorically untrue," said Bair. "All we have asked is for Time Warner Cable to value our programming in the same way as other TV providers _ nothing more, nothing less."
The first games scheduled in 2012 on the MSG networks are at 7 p.m. Monday: New York Knicks-Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Devils-Ottawa Senators.