When the Los Angeles Dodgers announced their plan to create a new television network in partnership with Time Warner, it raised concerns over how quickly Time Warner would come to an agreement with other distributors to allow them to carry SportsNet LA.
Those concerns then shifted to whether or not SportsNet LA would be affected by Comcast’s recent buyout of Time Warner. During an interview with Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, club president Stan Kasten said the buyout won’t affect SportsNet LA:
Our contract is with TimeWarner, which is being bought by another company, but our contract is in place. We own the station, they distribute for us, and our rights are clearly agreed to for 25 years, plus extensions.
As for concern with distributorship, Kasten doesn’t believe there will be any issues:
Like every city with a new deal, it will work itself out in due course. Everyone has the same goal. The distributor wants eyeballs on system. The Dodgers and TimeWarner want the most homes watching. We all have the same goal. In city after city, there’s a push and pull through the process, but every case gets worked out.
The Dodgers and Time Warner agreed to a 25-year, $8 billion dollar contract, which provided the cable provider with the rights to broadcast Dodger games. By launching their own network, the Dodgers have eliminated the middle man and are now able to retain more money from their television deal.
Although the Feb. 25 launch date is quickly approaching, Time Warner will more than likely not reach deals with other providers until the start of the regular season nears. For those who’ll have access to SportsNet LA on Feb. 25, the network will carry all spring training games and offer behind the scenes coverage, similar to what is seen on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
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