As President of MSG Media, Michael Bair oversees the strategic direction and operations for all of The Madison Square Garden Company's media entities, including sports and entertainment networks MSG Network and MSG Network HD, regional sports networks MSG Plus and MSG Plus HD, national music television network Fuse, and all of Madison Square Garden's interactive operations for web and mobile.
During his time at The Madison Square Garden Company, Mr. Bair has overseen the unprecedented growth and financial performance of the Media group. He led the expansion of MSG Network beyond sports and into entertainment, oversaw the rebranding of FSN New York to MSG Plus, landed the television rights to the Buffalo Sabres in upstate New York, and negotiated long-term extensions with major cable and satellite affiliates.
Every year, MSG Network and MSG Plus combine to produce more than 700 live events and more than 400 live professional games of the Knicks, Rangers, Devils, Islanders, Sabres, Red Bulls and Liberty. In 2010, MSG Network telecast the first ever hockey game in 3D and became the first network in America to deliver a 3D sporting event to the home. In 2007, Mr. Bair built the MSG Interactive division, which now oversees 28 websites, blogs, social networks and mobile applications and services. The websites generate and feature extensive video and commercial applications for brands like Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre, Knicks, Rangers and many others. Combined, the networks and interactive division have won 166 New York Emmy Awards for sports and entertainment programming, and MSG Network's 55 in the last four years leads all New York area networks or stations. In 2010, Mr. Bair oversaw MSG Networks' move to a brand new state-of-the-art facility in 11 Pennsylvania Plaza, which included renovated studios for the networks and new offices for staff, and recently won first place in the prestigious Broadcast Engineering Awards for Post and Network Production Facilities. Additionally, Mr. Bair led the creation of MSG Varsity, the first television, online and interactive network devoted to High School Sports and Activities.
Since Fuse joined MSG Media in 2008, Mr. Bair has established it as a network dedicated exclusively to music. The channel's music-focused strategy and extensive lineup of programming has transformed Fuse into the nation's premiere music channel, generating consistent ratings and revenue growth, while achieving profitability. The "Fuse Presents" concert series was created to showcase musical acts at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre. Famous artists such as The Dave Matthews Band, Kanye West, JAY-Z, Elton John, John Mayer, and Maroon 5 have all been featured performing in this series. Additional original shows on Fuse include: "Hoppus on Music," featuring the front man and bassist from the band blink-182; "On the Record," a half-hour intimate interview show that has featured the likes of Lady Gaga, The Foo Fighters, Linkin Park and Rihanna; and, a new interview and performance program, "Talking with Strangers," with Cee Lo Green serving as host.
Mr. Bair began his career at Cablevision in 1990 launching SportsChannel Bay Area, a regional sports network in San Francisco that featured the San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks and Pac-10 programming. He was later promoted to executive vice president of sports for Cablevision's Rainbow Media where he oversaw Rainbow's national sports networks, as well as SportsChannel's eight regional sports networks, which produced over 1200 live sporting events a year featuring more than 20 MLB, NHL and NBA teams. Mr. Bair helped negotiate Cablevision's partnership with FOX and was responsible for the transition of the SportsChannel networks to FOX Sports Net. During his tenure at Rainbow, the sports networks received an unprecedented 100 Emmy nominations, won the prestigious Beacon Award for community service, and experienced the greatest distribution and cash flow gains in their history. Mr. Bair was also involved in major rights negotiations with the NHL, NBA, MLB and the NCAA.
After his time with Rainbow Media, Mr. Bair served as president, product management & marketing for Cablevision's cable division. In this role he was responsible for product strategy, programming, marketing and advertising, as well as brand management for the company's video, voice and on-line services. He led the company's consolidation of its 18 cable systems and launched the company's residential phone service and high speed modem. He left the company in 2000 to become CEO at several internet companies and returned to MSG in 2004.
Before joining Cablevision, Mr. Bair held executive positions at HBO, Showtime Networks, and Ogilvy and Mather Advertising.
Mr. Bair serves on a number of local community boards as well as the Board of Directors of The Garden of Dreams Foundation – serving children facing obstacles throughout the New York Tri-State area.