Rochester, N.Y. -- It's something some people can't live without, but now they may have to.
"I'd have to because there's no way to watch them at home now,” said Time Warner Cable Subscriber Michael Garrity.
On New Year’s Day, die hard sports fans saw a screen with messages from Time Warner Cable about the removal of MSG instead of their favorite games.
Some, like Garrity, got an email.
"I got the email this morning basically saying they were unable to reach an agreement and had to pull the channel,” said Garrity.
TWC Senior Vice President Mike Angus says his company had already agreed to MSG’s 6.5% price increase on rates.
Angus says MSG deemed the price as a fair market rate, but all of a sudden backed out of the deal, demanding a 53% increase.
“We hate that our customers have been put in this terrible position, and MSG has offered no credible explanation as to why they suddenly need a 53% increase over last year’s rates,” said Angus. “Perhaps after renovating the Garden they are looking for New York sports fans to fund renovations of the Forum they recently purchased in Los Angeles. Who knows, but if they have substantial new funding needs, that’s what banks, not our customers, are for.”
Customers are starting to grow weary of the disputes.
"I remember a couple of years ago, one of the satellite companies also had a dispute, the Sabres or MSG,” said TWC subscriber Bohdain Petriv.
"You go back and forth, we hear this every year with networks wanting more and more money, cable bills keep going up,” said Garrity.
A recent study shows cable costs have tripled in the last ten years, in part because of networks.
"You pay for cable and want to be able to watch your sports at home but at the same time there's got to be some stop to networks forcing cable bills through the roof,” Garrity said.
There may be one benefit.
"If I can't watch it at home, I'll go out to the bar or someplace else,” said Petriv.
Bars could see an increase in business.
Customers could soon learn to live without cable, meaning they could pull the plug on the networks.
MSG has been running ads on Time Warner Cable urging TWC customers to switch providers in order to see their favorite teams.
Time Warner is offering a special month long freeview of their Sports Pass, offering more than 15 different sports channels until the end of January.
The cable company also says nearly 40% of remaining Knicks games and NBA playoff games can still be seen on Time Warner Cable.