James Dolan is up to something.
Here is a question worth asking. What is going on with James Dolan and his Madison Square Garden business? Dolan is apparently getting in and out of the arena and entertainment building business on one hand and yet continuing building entertainment venues on the other hand. Dolan’s Madison Square Garden business has sold its share of the Oak View Group to one of Dolan’s partners, Irving Azoff who among other things is the manager of the musical group, Eagles. Oak View Group is the company behind the renovation of the Seattle arena that is probably going to house a National Hockey League expansion team as early as 2020 and is partners with New York Islanders ownership and the New York Mets owners in building the proposed Belmont arena near the New York City, Nassau County border.
Dolan wants to split his assets into two businesses. One would be a sports group that would include the NBA’s New York Knicks, the NHL’s New York Rangers, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, a franchise that is up for sale, and an NBA esports gaming team. The entertainment company would hold onto the Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Forum in Inglewood, California and two theaters in Chicago and Boston. There are two entertainment venues that are scheduled to open in 2020 in Las Vegas and in London. There is also an entertainment and sports booking aspect to the business. There is a potential problem looming for Madison Square Garden’s physical future that Dolan, the NBA and the NHL will have to address soon. Dolan’s deal with New York City for the air rights over Penn Station is coming to an end in 2023. There are plans to rebuild Penn Station which include the Farley Post Office across the street from the venue and that would require the removal of the Garden. Time is becoming a factor as it takes years to build an arena. MSG is changing.