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Madison Square Garden exec says arena reopening ‘earlier than expected’

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Madison Square Garden exec says arena reopening 'earlier than expected'

Madison Square Garden was surprised that Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened New York Knicks and Rangers games to fans so soon, President Andy Lustgarten said Friday.

Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday that local arenas could open to 10 percent capacity, or about 2,000 people at Madison Square Garden, this month. The Knicks will have their first game in front of fans on Feb. 23 when they play the Golden State Warriors.

“This was earlier than we had expected,” Lustgarten told analysts on a Friday earnings call.

A week earlier, Lustgarten had said on an earnings call for Madison Square Garden Sports, owner of the Knicks and Rangers, that he was encouraged that wedding receptions and parties could increase their capacity to 150 people in March.

To some observers, that looked like an indication that the company believed approval for fans to return to games was still a month away. One MSG analyst on background said it had not been clear when fans would be allowed back.

“We think this is the right time to welcome back fans,” Lustgarten said.

Fans will need to provide proof that they got a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event, and temperature checks will be taken at the entrance, MSG execs said Friday.
Face masks will be required and social distancing also will be imposed.

MSG also said there will be limited types of food for sale, and no eating in the hallways. After the call, MSG declined to elaborate on what types of food would be available, saying details would be coming soon.

“We are on a path to continue to increase capacity,” Lustgarten said, hoping attendance will grow beyond 10 percent before the basketball and hockey seasons end.

On Friday, Madison Square Garden Entertainment confirmed that the state ban on fans attending sporting events has devastated its finances of late. The company said it lost $64 million in the quarter, compared to earning $109 million in the same period last year.

The sports and entertainment powerhouse headed by James Dolan said it has $1.45 billion in cash and short-term investments.

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Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

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Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

Henry Ford’s great-great-granddaughter has become the first woman in history to take a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Alexandra Ford English, 33, who has an MBA from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from Stanford, will begin her tenure on the 14-member board immediately, which will also include her cousin, Henry Ford III, the founder’s great-great-grandson, according to a report.

English, the daughter of the company’s executive chairman Bill Ford, joined the 118-year-old company in 2017 and works as director of corporate strategy.

Both Ford and English were elected to the board in March.

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

Cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings has raised about $428 million from a share sale, capitalizing on the retail-trading driven surge in its stock earlier this year.

The world’s largest cinema chain operator’s shares have gained more than five-folds in 2021 thanks to interest from amateur traders on Reddit that were piling into heavily shorted stocks such as GameStop and AMC to punish hedge funds that bet against them.

AMC said in a statement Thursday it had sold 43 million shares at an average price of $9.94 apiece in the at-the-market offering, sending its stock nearly 16 percent higher.

The company has raised funds in the past few months to ride out a downturn in its business wrought by pandemic-driven theater closures, delays in the launch of big movies and the growth of video streaming platforms.

It said in January it had raised $917 million since mid-December through equity and debt issues. It raised an additional $304.8 million in the same month through a share sale.

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

The Paramus Fairway’s getting a fresh start.

An Amazon Fresh supermarket is set to replace the shuttered Fairway Market in Paramus, N.J.

The Jeff Bezos-owned e-commerce giant bought the former Fairway location out of bankruptcy auction along with another former Fairway store in Woodland Park for a total of $1.5 million last March, The Post previously reported. 

Amazon’s plans for the two locations were listed as confidential at the time, but came as the Seattle-based company, which also owns Whole Foods, was beginning to expand in the groceries space. 

But Amazon confirmed in November the former Woodland Park Fairway would be converted into an Amazon Fresh. And now, the Paramus location will go the same route, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to NorthJersey.com. 

It’s not clear when opening day will be, and the company did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Amazon opened its first Fresh store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood in September. It’s since opened 11 other locations elsewhere in California and in Illinois, according to the tech giant’s website. 

Amazon Fresh is the company’s attempt to offer a mix of in-store and online grocery shopping while attracting a distinct demographic from Whole Foods by offering lower prices. Fresh stores also tend to feature more national staple brands like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s than Whole Foods, which emphasizes organic food. 

As The Post previously reported, Amazon may be looking to scoop up some more Fairway locations to expand Amazon Fresh’s footprint in the Northeast. Only seven of Fairway’s 14 stores were sold at last year’s bankruptcy auction, including the two that went to Amazon. Village Supermarket, which operates Shoprite stores, acquired at least four of those locations as well as rights to the Fairway brand. 

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