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Time Warner Cable, MSG reach deal. Linsanity at work?

Time Warner Cable and MSG sports have ended a seven-week blackout of Knicks games for TWC customers. Fan furor over Jeremy Lin – 'Linsanity' – probably played a huge role.

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Local New York politicians were even getting involved in the fray. Friday morning, the New York Post reported that New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sent letters to the executives of the feuding companies, warning that if  “discussions cannot produce a resolution within two weeks, the City Council will hold hearings and request that both parties explain themselves to the public.”

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“At a time when all New Yorkers are getting together behind Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks, now is the time to resolve this dispute once and for all,” Ms. Quinn wrote in the letters, obtained by the Post.

In a bit of PR goodwill, MSG executives held a viewing party for Wednesday’s Knicks game against the Sacramento Kings, complete with free dim sum, for Chinatown residents who have been affected by the blackout. According to the New York Times, the lack of Lin has been more acutely felt in Chinatown because of a lack of sports bars in the neighborhood.

Ratings on the MSG network have surged 71 percent this season, and 52 percent during games featuring Lin. He seems to be having a direct impact on MSG’s finances as well: On Feb. 14, MSG stock climbed 3.8 percent to $32.32 per share – its highest level in a year.  But the TWC dispute was reportedly costing MSG approximately $10 million per month in lost carriage fees.

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