Speculation by many, including yours truly, that the Pegula’s would start their own regional sports network when the current MSG expired proved to be just wishful thinking as it was announced that the Sabres has once again signed a carriage deal with MSG. The new agreement will go beyond ten years and is explained in the following Sabres release:

MSG Networks (NYSE:MSGN) and Pegula Sports and Entertainment today announced a new, long-term rights agreement for Buffalo Sabres games and comprehensive programming partnership that will include content relating to other Pegula Sports and Entertainment properties, such as the Buffalo Bills.

Under the arrangement, MSG Networks – home to Buffalo Sabres games since 2005 — will continue as the exclusive regional telecast partner of the Buffalo Sabres, and will continue to distribute a full schedule of Sabres games, including pre and post-game coverage.  The Buffalo Sabres scored the highest local television ratings of any team in the United States last season, an increase of 60% from the prior year.  Rick Jeanneret – recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for hockey broadcasting and longest-tenured play-by-play announcer in NHL history – will continue as play-by-play announcer for the 2016-17 season alongside Sabres alumnus and color commentator, Rob Ray.

MSG Networks will also serve as the home to other Pegula Sports and Entertainment programming, which will be branded “MSG Western New York” in recognition of the connection of this programming to Western New York viewers.  In addition to Buffalo Sabres hockey, MSG Western New York branded programming will include Buffalo Bills programming such as “The Rex Ryan Show,” “Bills All Access” and “Bills Tonight,” and beginning in the fall, a live block of programming dedicated to the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.

“MSG Networks is thrilled to renew and expand our long-standing partnership with the Buffalo Sabres and Pegula Sports and Entertainment,” said Andrea Greenberg, president and CEO, MSG Networks.  “As the NHL team with the highest local television ratings in the United States, Sabres games are the kind of live, valuable programming our viewers and distributors have come to expect from MSG Networks.  We are particularly pleased that we were able to expand the relationship to include programming relating to other Pegula Sports and Entertainment properties and create new and compelling programs for our viewers.  We would also like to say how proud we are to be partners with Terry and Kim Pegula and their team at Pegula Sports and Entertainment.  We admire their dedication and commitment to Western New York and look forward to continuing to build upon our already strong partnership throughout the term of this new, long-term arrangement.”

“I would like to thank MSG Networks for their long standing commitment to the Buffalo Sabres and our fans,” said Terry Pegula, Owner of the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.  “The opportunity  to extend and expand our partnership, including the launch of the MSG Western New York brand will be a great opportunity for our fans to stay connected to the teams they love.”

Reportedly the new MSG deal is near $20 million a year in rights fees for PSE which has been speculated to be twice the current amount. The large increase undoubtedly was a key factor in PSE not attempting to create a Buffalo based network similar to the Empire Sports Network. Considering start up costs and the battle that would follow with cable and satellite carriers to get on their systems and possibly drop one of the downstate sports networks like MSG or Sports Channel, PSE took the bird in the hand.

Filed under: Buffalo Sabres

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.