MSG Networks, Buffalo Sabres Ice Long-Term Rights Deal

MSG Networks will continue to televise Buffalo Sabres National League Hockey games as part of a long-term agreement, the network said Monday.

As part of the deal with the team management company Pegula Sports and Entertainment, MSG -- which has been televising Buffalo Sabres hockey games since 2005 -- will continue as the Sabres’ exclusive regional telecast partner, which includes live distribution of Sabres games as well as pre and post-game coverage, according to network officials.

In addition, the network will offer other Pegula content that will be branded as “MSG Western New York,” including include Buffalo Bills programming such as The Rex Ryan Show, Bills All Access and Bills Tonight, as well as a live block of programming dedicated to the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills.

The deal ends speculation about the Sabres creating a stand-alone regional sports network similar to the now defunct Empire Sports Network.

“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.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.