SBD/January 17, 2014/Media

MLB Reportedly Approves Revenue-Sharing Plan For Dodgers' New RSN

Kasten said the channel plans to air all of the Dodgers spring training games
Dodgers execs have "reached agreement with MLB about how much television revenue the team would share with the league" from Time Warner Cable SportsNet L.A., according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. The Dodgers also have "hired on-air talent" for their new RSN, including former players Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra. MLB approval for the channel, which launches Feb. 25, has yet to be publicly announced. Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten said that the channel plans to air all Dodgers Spring Training games, every regular-season game not picked up by national broadcasters and programs "featuring player profiles and behind-the-scenes activities." Kasten said that while SportsNet L.A. does not carry the Dodgers' name, there "are no plans for other sports -- or any other programming -- on the channel." Kasten: "For the first time ever, there is going to be a Dodger-only channel with Dodger-only content 24-7." Guggenheim President & Dodgers co-Owner Todd Boehly said that the new channel "will use the Dodgers' interlocking 'LA' logo." Kasten said that the Dodgers and TWC "plan to air 75 games in Spanish this season -- on a separate channel -- with the goal of airing all games in Spanish in future seasons" (LATIMES.com, 1/16).

GOLD RUSH, OR FOOL'S GOLD? SPORTS ON EARTH's Jack Moore wrote the past three years "have been the perfect time to strike and renegotiate a huge windfall" for an MLB franchise. The multi-billion dollar TV deals negotiated by the Dodgers, Angels, Rangers and now Phillies "have all occurred" since '10. But the "big question ... is when this bubble will burst." If teams like the Astros and Padres "are already having issues getting cable providers to pay carriage fees, what will the market look like in five years when the Brewers, Royals, Pirates and Cardinals can finally renegotiate their TV deals?" This "sounds like a question the fan who only cares about results on the field can ignore, but massive competitive balance implications rest on its answer." In leagues like MLB, "where players have free agency, studies have shown nothing -- not a salary cap , not player drafts -- leads to more competitive balance than more revenue sharing." While MLB's revenue-sharing program "will throw some of the new TV money down to the smaller market, late-negotiating clubs, it might not be enough to offset the growing gap in gross rights fee revenue and the non-shared money coming from club-owned equity stakes" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 1/16).
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