Madison Square Garden Rumors
You mentioned you were a Knicks fan growing up. Although it was before my time, I know those Knicks teams were great, with guys like Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Willis Reed among others. What did those teams mean to you, and did you have any opportunities to go to Madison Square Garden to see them play? Frank Fraschilla: Well, Walt “Clyde” Frazier just turned 76 and it seems like it was just yesterday that we were trying to buy Puma Clyde’s, when we could save the money. It was a big deal in New York back then when he signed with Puma. The Knicks probably shaped my love affair with basketball. I did go to a number of Knicks games when I was a kid. I’d go anytime my dad or my uncle could buy tickets. We would usually sit in the upper tiers of Madison Square Garden. Because I loved the game so much, I’d go to the park, in the playgrounds in New York City, and try to emulate my heroes: Clyde Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
Frank Fraschilla: I also fell in love with college basketball about that time too. It was completely different back then. We didn’t get 2,000 games broadcast every season like today. You’d hear about teams like UCLA, North Carolina and NC State, but college basketball was only on TV probably on an average of maybe three or four times a week, which gave me a hunger for college basketball. I had a hunger for going to Madison Square Garden, not only to watch the Knicks play but also for college basketball games too. And quite frankly, those were cheaper tickets so it was easier for me to go. My love affair with New York basketball for both the Knicks and college basketball hit me when I was about 12 years old and it really hooked me on the game for a lifetime. My early days of growing up in New York around those great Knicks teams had a huge impact on me, and it’s a big reason as to why I love the game so much.
Billionaire James Dolan is merging the company that owns the Madison Square Garden arena with the cable network that broadcasts New York Knicks games to local fans — and investors are running for the exits. Madison Square Garden Entertainment — which in addition to the Garden owns Radio City Music Hall and the Tao restaurant and nightclub chain — on Friday announced it will buy MSG Networks for about $900 million in stock.
Shares of the companies — both of which are controlled by Dolan, who also owns the Knicks and the New York Rangers — tanked on the news, with MSGE closing down 9.9 percent at $84.67, and MSGN tumbling 7.6 percent to $16.06. That’s on top of steep drops since word of the deal was first reported on March 10. While MSGE’s takeout offer represents a 4-percent premium to MSG Network’s shares on that day, investors on Friday groused that their combined market values have already sunk by roughly $750 million.
“The question for shareholders is if this is an indicator that there are financing challenges at MSGE,” one miffed shareholder told The Post, adding that during a Friday conference call, executives “didn’t address what the two businesses could do better together than what they can do separately.”