With a drop of a puck 50 years ago yesterday, MSG Networks forever changed the landscape of sports television. An industry pioneer, MSG Networks debuted back on October 15, 1969 with a game between the New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars, becoming the first-ever regional sports network in the country.
Since that day, MSG Networks has continuously established itself as the industry gold standard. Over the years, the network has successfully embraced the boundaries of technology, creatively re-imagined the possibilities of sports production and programming and set trends others in the industry closely follow. A few innovative highlights throughout the network’s storied history include:
- 1969 – first regional sports network in the country
- 1998 – first regular provider of HDTV sports coverage
- 2009 – first network to utilize virtual signage for hockey
- 2010 – first network to offer a live, 3D sports telecast to the home
- 2017 – first network to offer a live fantasy infused broadcast of a live game on 11/13/17, in partnership with DraftKings
- 2018 – first RSN to feature interactive gaming and live stats on its MSG GO streaming service
“As the first-ever regional sports network in the country, it’s quite an accomplishment to now be celebrating our 50th year and to have set the path that many others in the industry have followed,” said Andrea Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, MSG Networks. “While we are recognizing our distinguished past, we are also incredibly excited about our future success as a network and the opportunity to serve our loyal fans for years to come.”
To celebrate the network’s decorated history, MSG Networks will be unveiling a special commemorative logo and a dedicated anniversary hashtag, #LiveSince1969, as well as airing new original content that will be running throughout the season on multiple network platforms, including across its linear, digital and social channels, as well as on the network’s YouTube channel and MSG GO streaming service.
Starting this Thursday, MSG Networks will also re-air legendary Knicks and Rangers games, one from each decade that it’s been on the air. Viewers are encouraged to engage on social using the #LiveSince1969 hashtag as the network will be providing live commentary on Twitter when the games are airing. The mix of new content will include the launch of “Greatest Villains,” a short-form, digital series that will honor those athletes and teams that have delivered some of the greatest Garden performances and ultimately took on a villain-type role when playing in New York, including Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller.
Another short-form digital series, “MSG’s Untold Stories,” will put a spotlight on unique stories or moments that have defined what has made the network different than any other network over the last 50 years, such as giving a detailed look into the iconic “Andy Warhol’s TV” series that aired on the network during the 1980’s or a look back at select PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) basketball games played inside the Garden that featured future NBA players in high school before they became stars at the professional level.
MSG Networks will also be launching various short-form videos that dive deep into the intersection of sports and culture through different lenses, including food, music, fashion and sneakers. The content will explore the connection to each of these verticals during upcoming themed week takeovers on the network, such as a detailed account during “Sneaker Week” on the history behind Walt “Clyde” Frazier having the first signature shoe in the NBA back in 1973.
The anniversary content airing throughout the season will also be available on MSG GO, MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform for smartphones, tablets and computers.