SBD/Morning Buzz

Lakers, TWC Sign 20-Year Rights Deal That Could Be Worth $3B

New TWC RSNs will have Lakers games starting with the '12-13 season
Time Warner Cable signed a 20-year media rights deal with the Lakers that will lead to the creation of two new regional sports networks in the L.A. market next year. TWC will fully own the two new RSNs – one in English and one in Spanish. The RSNs will have the rights to pre-, regular- and postseason Lakers games starting with the '12-13 season. TWC execs said they will be scouting other content for the channels eventually. Fox, which already operates FS West and Prime Ticket in L.A., had been negotiating to keep the Lakers’ rights on FS West. Sources familiar with the Lakers' proposal to Fox indicated that the team was looking for a $3B, 20-year deal, which averages out to $150M per year.

Time Warner Cable Exec VP/Chief Programming Officer Melinda Witmer said the deal is unique to the Lakers and would not necessarily be duplicated in other markets where TWC is the dominant cable operator. Witmer said the networks will be made available to all distributors in the L.A. market: "We are seeking to work with all of the distributors to find a reasonable basis to get full distribution of the network. We want the Lakers to be available to everyone regardless of who their provider is."

For more, see today's issue of THE DAILY.
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