MSG files registration for sports, entertainment separation

The Madison Square Garden Co., parent organization of the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, has made its largest move yet in its long-planned effort to separate its sports businesses from its entertainment holdings.

MSG has filed a Form 10 Registration Statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to create a new entertainment-focused company, to be called Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. That would leave MSG itself to be a pure-play sports company, which would be rebranded as MSG Sports. That newly renamed MSG Sports is expected to be led by Andrew Lustgarten, who would be named president and chief executive.

The move will create two distinct publicly traded companies for shareholders: MSG Sports, which would focus on the company’s team holdings, and MSG Entertainment, which would focus primarily on the entity’s venue-based holdings. 

“We look forward to the pending separation of our sports and entertainment businesses, which will better enable the two companies to pursue their own unique strategies, while providing our shareholders with the ability to more clearly assess the value of each company,” said James Dolan, MSG executive chairman and chief executive.

Dolan is planning to be executive chairman of the sports company, and executive chairman and chief executive of the entertainment company following the separation. 

In addition to the Knicks and Rangers, MSG’s sports holdings include the NBA G League Westchester Knicks, the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack, and two esports entities. 

The Knicks, however, have been a particularly troubled spot for the company of late. In the midst of another losing season, the Knicks recently appointed former player agent Leon Rose as team president in the hopes of spurring a franchise revival. The team has also appointed the Translation agency to execute a brand makeover. 

In the midst of that, Dolan has engaged in a series of public disputes with high-profile Knicks fans, journalists, and former players, most recently noted film director Spike Lee.