NEW YORK — Cablevision Systems Corp., the owner of Madison Square Garden and the sixth-largest cable operator in the U.S., has bought Radio City Prods. — the company that operates Radio City Music Hall — for $70 million.
Speaking at a packed news conference bristling with camera crews in the Grand Lounge of the Music Hall on Wednesday, Jim Dolan, CEO of Cablevision Systems, said that Madison Square Garden will run Radio City Music Hall and spend an additional $25 million to restore it.
As part of the deal, Tishman Speyer Properties, which co-owns and manages Rockefeller Center, where the Music Hall is located, has given Cablevision a new lease to the Music Hall for 25 years. One source says the annual rental will be in the $1.5 million range.
Chris Dixon, a showbiz analyst for Paine Webber, says that Cablevision “now controls about 50% of the total seating capacity for live events in Greater New York,” covering the 20,000 seats in the Madison Square Garden arena, the 6,000 in Radio City Music Hall and the 5,600 or so in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The press conference featured a live appearance by 20 members of the Rockettes precision kicking to the song “New York, New York,” and brief remarks by New York Gov. George Pataki, who praised Cablevision for ponying up $25 million to restore what he called, “the No. 1 theater in America.”