Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) will face the challenge of distributing new regional sports network SportsNet LA to DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and other pay TV providers under a deal it announced Monday with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The MSO, which just flipped the switch on Los Angeles Lakers channel Time Warner Cable SportsNet last fall, said it will launch SportsNet LA before the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. SportsNet LA will become the sixth regional sports network in Southern California.
In addition to agreeing to carry the RSN on its cable systems in California and Hawaii, Time Warner Cable said it will handle affiliate and advertising sales for the Dodgers. The MSO clashed with both fellow cable MSOs such as Cox Communications and cable rivals when it launched Time Warner Cable SportsNet, which still isn't available on Dish Network. Time Warner Cable will likely see similar complaints about the price of sports programming with SportsNet LA, as providers such as DirecTV and Verizon have already begun charging subscribers additional monthly fees to help cover the costs of regional sports networks.
While Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers didn't disclose terms of the deal, The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the agreement may be worth more than $8 billion and could run as long as 20 years.
"This deal, like our Lakers' deal, furthers our efforts to attain greater certainty and control over local and regional sports programming costs," Time Warner Cable Sports President David Rone said in a prepared statement.
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