Dodgers finalize deal for television station - SportsNet LA
Jan 28, 2013 (Ventura County Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Time Warner Cable finalized details Monday on the creation of the team's new TV channel -- SportsNet LA -- scheduled to launch with the 2014 season.
The contract is reported to cover 25 years and be worth $7 billion-$8 billion and is subject to the approval of Major League Baseball.
The Dodgers will own the channel under a fully owned subsidiary -- American Media Productions, which they quietly created last month -- and will also create programming. Time Warner Cable will sell advertising, be in charge of securing distribution and have branding and programming rights, but will not have an ownership stake in the network.
SportsBusiness Daily reported Time Warner Cable, under the agreement, will assume most of the risk involved with the channel and has promised to cover affiliate fees from distributors who refuse to carry it.
The deal is similar to the one TWC crafted with the Lakers to launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, channels that launched this season to be the sole local TV outlet for the team's games. That deal was for $3 billion and 20 years.
The Dodgers have one more season on Fox's Prime Ticket and KCAL (Channel 9) before switching to SportsNet LA.
TWC has tried to rein in its costs to carry local sports teams by starting its own sports channels.
"We look forward to helping deliver this new network to (Dodgers) fans," Time Warner Cable Sports president David Rone said in a statement. "This deal, like our Lakers deal, furthers our efforts to attain greater certainty and control over local and regional sports programming costs."
TWC charges cable and satellite systems $3.95 per subscriber per month to carry the Lakers channels and reports have estimated SportsNet LA could charge as much as $5. Many distributors waited until just before or even just after the Lakers season started to pick up those new channels and the Dodgers' situation will likely be the same, and some may choose not to carry the new network at all. Time Warner Cable has already agreed to carry the channel in Southern California and Hawaii.
"We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want -- more content and more Dodger baseball -- was to launch our own network," Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said in a statement. "The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a world championship home to Los Angeles."
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said input from fans for the new network will be welcome.
"Our mission is to have the most fan-friendly sports programming, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from our Dodger community," Kasten said in a separate news release. "We look forward to sharing updates with fans in the coming months.
"In the meantime, we remain very excited about the upcoming 2013 season where we will be showcasing our incredible new roster and the many enhancements to Dodger Stadium, as well as continuing our commitment to broadcast excellence with our current partners Fox Sports and KCAL 9."
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