Time Warner Cable's Lakers channel finally nets Cox; DirecTV, Dish hold out
The Los Angeles Lakers have started their NBA season in ugly fashion, going 0-8 in pre-season competition and starting the regular season 0-3 before finally getting their first win Sunday, but the tepid start does not seem to be affecting Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC) ability to sign distribution partners for SportsNet, its so-called Lakers Channel.
What had been keeping some partners away was TWC's demand for a per-subscriber contract fee of almost $4, but one of the companies most critical of that fee, Cox Cable, has now become the latest partner to reach an agreement with TWC to carry SportsNet and Spanish-language companion channel Deportes, according to a Los Angeles Times story. Cox should have the channel activated in time for Wednesday's Lakers game against the Utah Jazz.
DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) remain the most notable holdouts after Cox signed its deal following several weeks of negotiations. Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR) earlier agreed to the carry the channel, and so did telco giants AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).
The new agreement between TWC and Cox should please the roughly 1.2 million subscribers the latter cable provider has in the Southern California area. DirecTV has 1.7 million subscribers in the region, so an agreement between DirecTV and TWC could be even more significant. However, according to the LA Times, DirecTV has tried to fight rising costs for distribution contracts, and still does not carry the local PAC-12 channel featuring USC and UCLA college sports for that reason.
-see this Los Angeles Times report