Cablevision Systems Corporation executives discussed the potential value in spinning-off its Madison Square Garden business, during an earnings call yesterday with investors.

"As a relatively small portion of Cablevision's consolidated results, we believe that it has been difficult for investors to fully appreciate the strengths and strategies of MSG,” said MSG president/CEO Hank Ratner. “As a separate public company, we would have the opportunity to showcase MSG's unique value, which includes assets that will continue to work together strategically to drive the company's overall business."

Ratner says plans include a renovation of Madison Square Garden in New York, one of the top-grossing arenas in the world, according to Billboad Boxscore. "Our plans to renovate the Garden continue to progress and we are confident that a renovated Garden will have numerous benefits, not the least of which will be dramatically improved experiences for all patrons throughout the venue," says Ratner.

The board of directors for Cablevision authorized the company's management to move forward with the spin-off of the Madison Square Garden (MSG) business to Cablevision stockholders.

Regarding the renovation of the Garden, Ratner said, "We are currently working with our construction team to finalize the project's plan, its timetable and overall costs. While we currently believe that the overall cost of the project will be materially higher than the original estimate of $500 million, we expect that these costs will be funded from Madison Square Garden's existing liquidity and operating cash flows. To the extent we determine that MSG would benefit from additional capital, we intend to do that against the existing assets of MSG."

According to the transcript, MSG's second quarter revenue of $207 million was down 1% when compared with 2008 second quarter. AOCF for the quarter declined by 56%, to $11 million. Ratner said MSG Entertainment's revenue was lower than the prior year quarter by $9 million, due primarily to fewer concerts and other events.