MSG telling fans to drop cable company

Madison Square Garden, working to hammer out a new carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline, is ratcheting up the pressure on the cable company by calling on customers to switch providers to ensure they will be able to watch the Knicks and Rangers in the new year.

MSG’s networks — MSG, MSG Plus and music service Fuse — may go dark on Time Warner Cable if a deal is not reached by Jan. 1.

"Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable is not interested in reaching a fair agreement and, in fact, is not interested in conducting productive negotiations on behalf of its customers. Because of that, we suggest that our customers switch providers before Time Warner Cable pulls MSG’s networks off its systems," MSG Media president Michael Bair said in a statement.

A Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said MSG wanted a bigger subscription fee than ESPN, which has an average rate of $4.69 per subscriber, per month, according to Kagan data.

MSG wants Time Warner Cable to pay market rates for its services — what one source described as a "couple of bucks" a month. Sports TV rights continue to climb, and Time Warner Cable is working to keep a cap on rates.