MSG Net Studio Sale Relocates On-Air Teams to New HD Digs

It’s October, the new National Hockey League season has faced off, and the National Basketball Association’s preseason is in full flight.

At Madison Square Garden, that means the New York Rangers, despite a stumbling start, have resumed the chase for the Stanley Cup, and the Knicks hope their prospects improve under new team president Phil Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher.

MSG Network viewers are also getting new looks at the regional sports channel’s pre- and post-game and halftime programming, courtesy of a fresh set on display at Studio B at 11 Penn Plaza in Manhattan. The change in format and location follows MSG’s sale of music network Fuse to Sì TV Media. The $226 million sale gave Sì TV-owned NUVO tv control over Fuse’s current streetfront Studio A, across the street from the Garden. That pushed MSG to the 1,385-square-foot Studio B, where new equipment and visuals are in play, centered by a new anchor desk.

Behind the oval-shaped desk is a main video wall, containing 15 42- inch high-definition monitors that can be synced to depict one giant picture or separated into distinct images. A primary left-side main camera, a jib and a mobile-tracking slider positioned to the right provide varied vantage points.

There is a flanking cityscape wall and a 3-by-3 studio wall, where Bill Pidto conducts his signature 150-second halftime roundup segments. A functional column (it holds up the ceiling) swathed in appropriate lighting with the team’s colors anchors the middle of the room.

At the rear of the studio is a stairwell that is home to standups and interviews. Analysts are also engaging with a new touchscreen to illustrate action on the ice or the hardwood.

“Wally and Alan can’t wait to get in here and play with that,” MSG executive producer Jeff Filippi said during The Wire’s recent visit, meaning Knicks analysts Wally Szczerbiak and Alan Hahn.

Jackie Lyons, vice president of network operations, said the new studio, designed by James Yates Production Design and built by Creative Dimensions Inc., “will keep energy within the room, because we’re not shifting outside of the space.”

The old street-side Studio A will still be in the mix at times when the Knicks and Rangers are both playing. MSG has built a replica of the large set behind the music network’s design and can change it over in 15 to 20 minutes. “The team has it down to a science,” Lyons said.

A downside of Studio B: It doesn’t face Seventh Avenue. But with remotes affixed atop the arena, Filippi said, “We can still show that we are in the city and that people are walking to and in front of the building. We’re certainly not hiding from the fact that we are the Garden.”

While it will take some time for all to become acclimated to the new surroundings, Filippi said he’s pleased with the early going in Studio B.

“Overall, we’ll have a much more modern feel,” he said.

Why No Video In Broadband Study? It’s Personal

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration released a study last week on broadband adoption, non-adoption and related information, focused on the use of mobile broadband.

The October 2012 survey focused on four Internet-dependent activities — email, Web browsing, downloading apps and social networking, but there were no questions about accessing video. Why not?

Rafi Goldberg, policy analyst in NTIA’s Office of Policy Analysis and Development, told The Wire pollsters only got to ask 12 questions.

At the time they began coming up with queries, in 2010, video was not as big a category, added John Morris Jr., associate administrator of the office.

Morris said NTIA had the raw data from a 2013 survey that included a lot more questions, including ones on use of video, with those results likely ready for release early in 2015. “Stay tuned,” Morris told The Wire.

Why so much time between surveys and their release given the speed of digital and the need to make policy decisions? The Census Bureau surveys include personal data that has to be scrubbed first, they said, and that just takes time.

— John Eggerton