James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, issued a statement late Thursday squelching any speculation that his company was considering a change. Earlier in the day at a Goldman Sachs investment conference, he reportedly opened the door to the possibility of MSG switching to Live Nation’s new ticketing operation that launches next year.
“Madison Square Garden has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Ticketmaster,” Dolan said in the statement. “We have been in conversations and expect to extend that relationship and we have no current plans to do anything otherwise.”
Such a move would have sent a strong signal further legitimizing Live Nation’s fledgling ticket operation, which scored a major coup last week when it announced it was signing on venue operations heavyweight SMG. Live Nation and SMG are Ticketmaster’s two biggest clients, and if Live Nation were to take over the ticketing for Cablevision’s properties, too, which include Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, Ticketmaster could face an erosion of its dominant position within the industry.
A Ticketmaster spokesperson told TicketNews that the Dolan comment “speaks volumes,” and that the company would not make any further statements concerning the situation.
Make no mistake, however, trying to predict Ticketmaster’s demise because the company continues to hold a commanding position atop the ticketing marketplace, according to TicketNews’s exclusive industry rankings. And, although the company’s stock, which trades on Nasdaq under the symbol TKTM, has dropped precipitously since it began trading publicly last month, Ticketmaster believes it is well positioned to weather the storm of Live Nation and SMG leaving.