Dodgers News: Owners Not Concerned Over Distribution Of SportsNet LA
SportsNet LA is set to unofficially launch on February 25, but how many homes it will actually reach on that launch date remains to be seen.
The Los Angeles Dodgers new channel with Time Warner Cable will be the place to catch all Dodger games and Dodger-related material, although it may face some difficulty reaching deals with cable and satellite distributors.
According to Joe Flint of the LA Times, Dodgers president Stan Kasten believes that no issues will be had with the deals:
Time Warner Cable will probably face pushback from DirecTV and Cox, particularly because both are already paying a similar amount to carry the cable operator’s SportsNet channel, which is home to the Los Angeles Lakers. “Time Warner Cable has told us they expect to have full distribution”, Kasten said.
Kasten believes that things will be worked out by Time Warner Cable, who spent over $8 billion for a 25-year deal to get the Dodgers exclusive rights. The cable company is set to begin pitching the channel to the other distributors, such as DirecTV and Cox Communications. Costs have been estimated at an extra $4-5 per subscriber at first, with the cost rising as time goes on. If a deal isn’t reached by the start date, fans with those particular distributors will miss Spring Training games and possibly the Dodgers’ first games in Australia on March 22.
Management isn’t worried about the financial aspect of the deals because the Dodgers are set to be paid no matter what. A clause in the contract gives the financial burden to Time Warner Cable and makes them responsible for paying any subscription fees from other distributors until a deal is reached.
SportsNet LA joins a crowded sports channel market with TWC SportsNet, Fox Sports West, Prime Ticket and two Pac-12 channels already in the region. The name of the channel comes from Time Warner Cable, even though the Dodgers own the channel.
Dodger fans without Time Warner Cable will hope that Kasten is right and that no complications arise in the process.
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