SBD/December 14, 2012/Media

Dodgers Still Weighing Options For New TV Deal As Talks With Fox, TWC Continue

Dodgers' payroll is now sitting at $215M for upcoming MLB season
The Dodgers' "exclusive window of talks with incumbent Fox Sports' Prime Ticket has come and gone, but more discussions have been taking place with Time Warner Cable over the past week and no deal has been reached," according to sources cited by Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Fox will have "until early January to decide if it will accept the Dodgers' proposal, knowing the team continues to discuss its options with TWC at the same time." From the TWC side, the option to "create another Dodger-centric channel has been discussed." Also to be negotiated is "whether the Dodgers would demand some of their games continued to be accessible through a secondary provider -- more specifically," KCAL-CBS. Sources said that discussions of the Dodgers "starting their own TV channel in the meantime have quieted ... because of the risk factors involved in launching such a venture" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/14). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell wrote, "If the Dodgers are spending $215 million, which balloons to $235 million with benefits and a luxury tax, how are they doing this when, before all other costs, the team will likely gross an estimated $250 million in 2013?" It "hasn't been easy to figure out because, frankly, the principals at Guggenheim Partners ... haven't been forthcoming with their strategy." While the Dodgers have "every right to be tight-lipped, it certainly hasn't made it easy for the league, the other owners or the fans, who want to be assured that the team isn't loading up debt that would affect the franchise's future." So far, the answer to "rationalizing the $2.15 billion purchase price and recent spending is an upcoming television deal." There are "certainly a lot of nervous people in the industry wondering where this is all leading." They wonder if it is "possible they somehow miscalculated what the Dodgers would net from a TV deal and wondering if this is similar to the overly leveraged Frank McCourt that led to the mess that the new owners inherited" (ESPN.com, 12/13).
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