Thursday, July 25, 2013

After Nearly a Billion Dollar Renovation, Why Move the World's Most Famous Arena?

Full disclosure: I was once named the Twitter Follower of the Week by MSG:)

If you missed the news yesterday, the New York City Council put the future of Madison Square Garden in question, when it approved a special operating permit for the arena for only 10 years. The permit's short time span is designed to push MSG to relocate and give its underground neighbor, Penn Station, room to expand. But while a renovated Penn Station would be great for commuters, MSG has almost completed a nearly one billion dollar, three-year renovation that has made the arena more beautiful than ever.

So how should MSG respond to the disappointing news? Should they criticize the City Council's decision and keep it in the public eye? Or should they ignore the story and let it die down?

MSG officials seemed to have chosen the latter, saying only that they are looking forward to the completion of the Garden's renovation. From a PR perspective, that was the right decision. Right now, there is no expansion plan for Penn Station. Who knows what such a plan would look like and how much it would affect taxpayers? Also, at least two of the city's mayoral candidates are backing MSG in this potential fight, according to The New York Times. The political landscape could change dramatically in 10 years.

At the same time, if MSG does have to move, focusing on growth now will only help. After all, a modern arena with sold-out crowds and die-hard fans will be worth a lot more than a building whose owners are fighting to keep alive. The best decision is to keep doing what they're doing and let the fight come to them. 

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