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MSG To Hear From 5

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Madison Square Garden has selected five contenders to handle advertising for its two regional cable TV sports channels--Madison Square Garden Network and Fox Sports New York, sources said.
The New York-based client will hold credentials meetings in the next two to four weeks with New York shops CMG Communications, DeVito/Verdi, DiMassimo, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Warwick Baker O'Neill.
Sources said a cut may be made after the meetings; a decision is expected by the end of July. The Advertising Agency Register here, which is conducting the review, declined comment. The contenders either would not comment or could not be reached at press time.
Up for grabs are creative and media duties on the $3-5 million account. The review started about a year ago [Adweek, June 1], but had stalled while ITT sold its 50 percent stake in the Garden to Cablevision. It resumed after the arrival of Greg Brodsky, the new vice president of marketing, sources said.
The winning shop will be charged with developing a campaign targeted at consumers in the tri-state area.
Several sources noted the award-winning work from Cliff Freeman and Partners on the Fox Sports account and the ESPN SportsCenter ads from Wieden & Kennedy as "examples of what is possible in this category." However, "a regional sports network could be more difficult" because it requires tune-in appeals, unlike Fox's national efforts, said one source.
Sources said MSG's new shop will also promote original programming and spots for specific sports coverage, such as the Knicks and Yankees. MSG's current tagline, created in-house, is: "We're all over it."