(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Michael Bair has been named president, MSG Networks, effective February 1. In this role, he will be responsible for the strategic direction, operational and financial performance of the Madison Square Garden Networks (MSGN), including MSG Network; FSN New York; MSG Radio; Gardenvision and MSG New Media.
"MSG Networks have consistently distinguished themselves as the best regional sports networks in the country, through outstanding game coverage, original programming, quality production, and technological innovation, such as their pioneering use of HDTV," said Hank Ratner, vice-chairman of Cablevision Systems Corporation and Madison Square Garden, in making the announcement. "Mike's experience is a perfect match for the Networks' future — he has headed up traditional regional sports networks; run successful new media companies that utilized the latest technological advancements; forged some of the most prominent sports television partnerships and created marketing platforms appealing to sponsors, consumers and viewers. We're confident that Mike's expertise will strengthen the Networks' preeminent position in the industry — benefiting the Networks and, most importantly, their viewers."
"I am extremely proud to be given the opportunity to lead MSG Network and FSN New York — two of the most innovative and respected brands in regional sports television," said Bair. "I look forward to working with the Networks' talented staff to create compelling telecasts that showcase the teams and deliver a powerful viewing experience for their fans."
Bair's career at Cablevision began when he launched SportsChannel Bay Area. He was promoted to executive vice president of sports for Rainbow media, where he oversaw SportsChannel's eight regional sports networks; consolidated and re-marketed the networks into a single SportsChannel brand; upgraded productions, created new programming ventures and developed innovative sponsorships for advertisers. He was part of the negotiating team that created the FOX/Cablevision partnership, and was responsible for the transition of SportsChannel to FOX. During his tenure at SportsChannel, the network received an unprecedented 100 Emmy nominations, won the prestigious Beacon Award for community service and experienced the greatest distribution gains in its history. Bair was also involved in rights negotiations with the NHL, NBA, MLB and the NCAA.
Additionally, Bair served as president, product management AND marketing for Cablevision's cable division, where he was responsible for product strategy; programming; marketing and advertising, as well as brand management for the company's video, voice and on-line services.
Bair has held executive positions at HBO, Showtime Networks and Ogilvy and Mather Advertising. Since September, 2004, He has served as senior vice president, marketing and business operations for the New York Rangers, where he has overseen the development of a strategic business and marketing plan, as well as the business operations for the organization. Prior to that, Mr. Bair served as CEO of Resorts Sports Network, an outdoor sports media company and was CEO of Dsports, the on-line retail operation of Dick's Sporting Goods.
As previously announced, current MSG Networks President Mike McCarthy will remain at the Networks in a transitional role, before assuming a consultant position with the company. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner