SBD/March 13, 2014/Media

Dodgers' Kasten Hopeful Carriers Will Pick Up TWC SportsNet L.A. Closer To Opening Day

Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten yesterday said he is not yet worried about Time Warner Cable SportsNet L.A. only being currently available to TWC subscribers because "historically, these deals get done much closer to Opening Day." Kasten, appearing on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," added, "Everyone can see the new Dodger channel, you just have to be with the right provider. Right now Time Warner has it on their systems. It's been offered to every system." CNBC's Jane Wells said, "They don't want to buy it yet." Kasten continued, "All you have to do, if you want to see the Dodgers, is let your provider know because some providers are saying, 'Gee, our customers don't want the Dodgers.'" Wells asked if Kasten is "expecting it to happen because they're saying it's going to cost as much as $4 a subscriber." Kasten said, "These deals get done because everyone has the same interest. Everybody wants high-quality entertainment, high-quality product. We think we provide that with the Dodgers. We know our customers want it and the system providers want their customers to be happy. At the end of the day there's almost always a way to get this done." Meanwhile, Wells noted the Dodgers are reportedly going to have to give $1.9B of their $8B TV deal to MLB as part of the league's revenue-sharing plan. Kasten: "It's not true that it's much more than we thought. It's exactly what we thought because this was after months and months of talking and dissecting and understanding the details. We're very happy about the revenue-sharing system in baseball" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 3/12).

CARRIAGE CONCERNS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman notes subscriber fees for TWC SportsNet L.A. currently begin "at more than $4" and will likely escalate "to over $5 in coming years." TWC President of Sports, News & Local Programming David Rone "accused DirecTV of hypocrisy for not wanting to offer SportsNet LA in the same manner" it offers RSNs in which it owns a stake in Seattle, Denver and Pittsburgh. DirecTV Chief Content Officer Dan York said that the "high price that SportsNet LA is demanding makes the situation different." York: "It's only fair to give all consumers the choice." SNL Kagan data shows that there "are about 4.84 million pay-TV customers" in the greater L.A. market. TWC is the "largest pay-TV provider in the market, with about 32% of the subscribers." DirecTV "has about 27% of the market, while Dish Network Corp. has nearly 13%" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/13).
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