Shares of Madison Square Garden (MSG) - Get Report, which includes the New York Knickerbockers of the National Basketball Association and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, on Thursday dropped after the NBA suspended play to fight the coronavirus.
The NBA acted Wednesday after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The games are on hold until further notice. And many experts wouldn’t be surprised to see the NHL suspend competition just as the NBA has.
Sports events around the world have been restricted or canceled in recent days. The No. 2 U.S. pro tennis event, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., was dropped. And the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played in arenas mostly emptied of fans.
The Knicks haven’t had a winning team since 2013, the last year they made the playoffs. Many fans have urged MSG Chief Executive James Dolan to sell the team. Instead, the company approved a plan in November to spin off all of its sports business - MSG Sports.
The Rangers are in contention for a playoff spot.
The spinoff plan would keep MSG’s entertainment operations - MSG Entertainment - as a publicly held company with no equity interest in the sports business.
MSG Entertainment controls live events at Madison Square Garden. It also operates Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre in New York City, Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre in Boston.
At last check, MSG shares traded at $191, down 13%.