SBD/February 18, 2011/People and Pop Culture

This Week's Newsmakers: Time Warner Cable Inks Big Deal With Lakers

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: TIME WARNER CABLE -- The L.A. area's largest cable operator shakes up the region's sports TV landscape by luring the Lakers away from Fox Sports with a 20-year deal estimated to be worth $3B. TWC will create two RSNs -- one in English and one in Spanish -- that will begin broadcasting the storied franchise's games next year. The agreement gives TWC an attractive property with which to lure new customers, not to mention a significant bargaining chip in distribution negotiations. TWC execs soon will be on the prowl for additional sports properties to round out the RSNs, and with the Dodgers' TV rights deal expiring in '13, the company could be a major bidder for another one of the area's beloved teams.

LOSE: JOHN JUNKER -- The longtime Fiesta Bowl President & CEO is put on administrative leave this week while an internal investigation looks into allegations he was involved in improper political-campaign contributions and questionable expense reimbursements. Bowl officials in the past have steadfastly stood behind Junker, and his leave of absence may indicate the ongoing investigation has turned up some improprieties. It is still unclear if Junker could return to his position in the future if he is vindicated.

DRAW: LPGA -- There's no question that the LPGA has plenty of ground to make up when it comes to public attention. The women's golf tour tees off its '11 season on the other side of the world with tournaments in Thailand and Singapore, doing little to resurrect fan support in the U.S. Nonetheless, MICHAEL WHAN is taking an aggressive approach to find new supporters by rolling out the LPGA's first ad campaign in four years. The tour still needs a star -- preferably one named MICHELLE WIE -- to step up and dominate, but the commissioner deserves applause for his proactive approach to marketing the sport.
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