Though it has yet to be official, it looks like Time Warner Cable has secured an exclusive deal to broadcast Los Angeles Dodger Games for the next 20 years.
Though the games will be broadcast on a new regional sports network launched by the Guggenheim Partners (which owns the Dodgers), Time Warner Cable will be running the network and selling ad time—which means that the cable giant will be sharing TV rights with the Dodger ownership.
This is a major loss for Fox, which had previously paid $40 million a year to broadcast Dodger games. This is a major win for Time Warner Cable, since they secured exclusive broadcast rights for Los Angeles Laker games for the next 20 years just a few months ago.
According to Lee Burke, a prominent sports media consultant, the deal enhances the stature of the team: “From a Dodgers standpoint, this puts them at the same rank as the Yankees, Red Sox and Giants. Valuation is the name of the game. That’s what Guggenheim is going to achieve by developing a Dodgers network with Time Warner.”
The deal will reportedly pay $7 billion over 20 years, which should be announced in the next 2 days. However, the new agreement may spark resentment and backlash from competing pay TV providers like DIRECTV, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, and more. The push back was already felt when Time Warner Cable launched their exclusive Laker channels, with DIRECTV waiting until after the NBA season began before agreeing to carry the channels. Dish Network is still not carrying Time Warner Cable’s Laker channels, and the NBA season is already almost halfway over.
Still, the new deal should put Time Warner Cable in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations, since the Dodgers are one of the most storied teams in Major League Baseball. With Los Angeles professional baseball and basketball firmly in their pocket for the next 20 years, Time Warner Cable should be able to convince L.A. sports fans to either subscribe to their pay TV service, or demand that their current provider offer the new channels.