James Dolan at War with Maggie Gray and WFAN

New York Post – James Dolan and Madison Square Garden have gone nuclear in their revenge against WFAN and its parent company, Entercom, The Post has learned.

In retaliation for a summer rant by WFAN host Maggie Gray, Dolan’s MSG has ordered all of its businesses across the country to shut down working with Entercom and banned Knicks and Rangers players, as well as MSG broadcasters and personnel, from appearing on the station, according to officials involved in the decision.

Interesting move by James Dolan and MSG yesterday. Of course by interesting I mean petty and shortsighted, because these types of moves rarely work out well.

Full disclosure, I had not heard or read about Maggie Gray’s August rant until yesterday. I also had no idea that Dolan used to be pals with Harvey Weinstein. That’s the main reason why moves like this are wrongheaded. In attempting to exact revenge against Gray, WFAN and Entercom two months later, Dolan only brings more attention to himself and to the rant that got him so upset in the first place. There’s no way I would have come across Gray’s rant two months later if not for this move by Dolan and MSG. They teach this in literally every Sports Marketing 101 class in the country.

If it’s favorable coverage in the media Dolan wants, this move certainly won’t help. That’s another reason why moves like this don’t often work out well. In reacting poorly to unflattering coverage, Dolan only ensures more unflattering coverage. Most media members don’t respond well to these types of actions.

Did Gray go over the line with some of her word choices? That can be debated. But Dolan is worth $1.5 billion. He owns the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers. Even if Gray made those comments on the most popular sports radio station in the country, it feels like Dolan is punching down.

It’s unlikely many fans will side with Dolan in this squabble, given the well-documented struggles of his franchises over the last 20 years. Rather than go to war with WFAN and the fans of his teams (i.e., paying customers), wouldn’t it be a better business decision to try and reach some of those paying customers who also listen to WFAN?

I know it can be hard to take the high road some times, but it has to be easier to take your guitar and go home when your worth more than the Powerball jackpot.

 

 

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