It's time for MSG to take the New York Islanders more seriously 1
Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell, New York Knicks executive chairman James L. Dolan and Bernard King look on during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the New York Islanders are more than familiar with the content of the topic. The “technical issues” that plague the Islanders games on MSG need to stop. 

Historical Failure

What prompted this seemingly random tirade was the game against the Senators on Saturday afternoon.

While watching the Islanders (as usual), I noticed the feed was a little fuzzy. That sort of tint that appears over your screen as if you’re watching a VHS tape you dusted off from your box of 90’s Disney collection. Then, the audio began to cut out and there were interruptions with the video feed.

This was not at all the first time this had happened and there’s a good bet it will be far from the last. I first noticed it this season when the Islanders were set to square off at home against the Dallas Stars, the first game with Doug Weight behind the bench.

It came first as an interruption, but then turned into a nuisance very rapidly. First, the screen switched to the display that was being shown on the scoreboard of the Barclays Center. Interesting.

A snapshot of the MSG broadcast during the first period. The screen displayed the scoreboard’s feed from the Barclays Center.

Then, the problem was seemingly corrected when the picture returned. The only issue being that the commentary did not follow suit, and there was an extended period of silent hockey. The commentary did return, but it was followed by the departure of the score interface.

When I sat down and thought about it, I remembered that a similar situation had occurred about three weeks prior, when the Islanders played the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul. The video and audio feed was laughably poor as if viewers were subjected to turn YouTube down to the lowest buffer setting and wait for it to load for half the first period. The video feed wasn’t just poor, it wasn’t even MSG. Fox Sports had to lend a hand to pick up slack that MSG dropped.

Going back even further brings back countless memories of the Islanders games not even being broadcasted in full HD some nights on MSG+.

Who bears the guilt?

New York Knicks fans have the unpleasant experience of knowing how inept James Dolan is as an owner.  It has been well documented throughout his tenure as Knicks owner and known league-wide. Apparently, that ineptitude has spread out into the realm of broadcasting as well.

Islanders fans know and have experienced the feeling of being treated like second-class citizens. Islanders games are always bumped in favor of the larger-market New York Rangers. It’s always been Rangers as the priority and the spare parts to the Islanders.

There is no excuse in existence that is good enough to cover these inconsistencies. The setup at the Barclays Center being “unique” isn’t good enough. Does the YES Network have the same issues as frequently? What about SNY and the Mets? In the past two years alone I can confidently say the Islanders broadcasts have been more troubled than any other major New York sports team.

It’s time for the inconsistencies to stop, the fanbase deserves better, especially after the tumultuous drama that has surrounded the Islanders historically and most notably this season.

James Dolan and MSG Networks: Enough is enough.


  1. Matt,

    Very good read and I agree. The question then becomes-How do you accomplish that? I think a good start is increased attendance. It’s very disheartening to go games and the place is 60% full. I am aware of the lack of Saturday night games and other scheduling snubs, but there is no argument for that to change until Barclays feels they can make some $ on the Isles on prime nights. It’s not a convincing argument when the place is no where near full on nights when the do play. That communicates to some degree that the fans do not take their own team seriously, to outsiders looking in. Now some of the fanbase is going to push back and cite the obstructed views, the train ride, Brooklyn being a “ghetto” ect…

    1) Obstructed views- I have been to 6 games this season so far and each time there were plenty of non-obstructed view seats available, so until those are regularly full, this argument is moot.

    2) the train ride- I am coming from Westchester, so I am definitely NOT feeling that excuse.

    3) Brooklyn is a ghetto- this one is so absurd, I won’t comment any further.

    I am a diehard from Brooklyn from back in the 70’s when I was a kid. I know the passion this fanbase wields as I presume you do as well. However, try and look at it from an outsiders eyes, from a business perspective. The fans have to make the argument by showing up IN DROVES. We have to MAKE THEM take us seriously and grant us the same quality feeds and coverage as our “neighbors” in Manhattan. It’s not going happen if people stay away as some are ON PURPOSE because they dislike Barclays and/or Brooklyn. The good news is that I have noticed “new fans” at the games, particularly local ones for Brooklyn. You can tell as they don’t know the chants or the players or the history, BUT NEW FANS IS A GOOD THING NONETHELESS!

    I go to as many games as I can and recruit as many Isles fans around me to go. That is as much as I can do.

    Thanks for writing.

    S78. LGI !! !!!