NBA lockout could cost MSG millions

BY foxsports • October 12, 2011

The biggest losers of the NBA lockout may turn out to be Madison Square Garden's (MSG) shareholders.

MSG, the publicly-traded company that owns the famous arena, the New York Knicks and the MSG sports network, is facing a $70 million revenue hit if the league’s entire 82-game season is a wash, according to expert estimates.

The loss of the first two weeks of the season, which would have started Nov. 2 against the Miami Heat, will put as much as a $10 million dent in MSG’s revenues, according to estimates.

And the chances of the new season tipping off anytime soon are growing dimmer, with NBA commissioner David Stern describing league negotiations as “far apart.”

The Garden is also slated to complete a pricey renovation estimated to cost as much as $850 million by 2013.

Media analyst Rich Tullo at Albert Fried & Co. forecast that from Nov. 2-14, lost ticket sales -- as well as sales of beer, hot dogs and other merchandise at the 19,000-seat arena -- will drain as much as $7 million from MSG’s coffers.

Another $3 million in lost advertising dollars could come from MSG Networks, where ratings have averaged about 137,000 per game, according to MSG figures.

Like many basketball franchises, including the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, the NBA season is at risk because of stalled talks between players and owners over how to split up some $4 billion in revenues.

The Knicks will lose seven games, while the Nets will lose six in the Nov. 1-14 scratched schedule.

Knicks superstars like forwards Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, who only pocket fat paychecks if they’re playing games, are set to lose a cool $1.7 million for the first two weeks.

Spun off from the Dolan family’s Cablevision Systems in 2009, MSG’s shares dropped 4.64 percent to $22.82 Tuesday, a day after Stern announced the regular-season cancellations.

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