SBJ/March 19-25, 2012/Media

Fox Sports plans Spanish-language games

In what appears to be a response to Time Warner Cable’s plans to launch a Spanish-language regional sports network in Los Angeles, Fox Sports will make many of its Angels, Dodgers and Clippers games available in Spanish starting this season.

Fox Sports is negotiating with local cable operators to carry those Spanish-language games on a basic tier. Prime Ticket and FS West would keep their regular channel positions on Los Angeles-area cable systems. The cable operators would simply find an overflow channel where they would put the Spanish-language games.

“We think this is a significant audience, and we think we can deliver a really compelling product to that audience,” said Jeff Krolik, FSN’s executive vice president.

Krolik said FSN’s move is not a response to Time Warner’s pending network launch.

“We’ve been doing Spanish-language games for two years,” he said, referencing the handful of Dodgers and Angels games that Fox Sports has produced in Spanish. “We’re not in the business of reacting to anyone else.” The plan calls for Fox Sports to carry more than 100 Angels, Dodgers and Clippers games in Spanish in the first year and more than 150 games in the second year. This includes play-by-play, graphics and player interviews.

Fox Sports wouldn’t charge more for the programming. Sources say it appears Time Warner Cable and Cox are likely to carry it in Los Angeles. Fox is planning to roll out a similar Spanish-language offering in San Diego this season with Padres and Clippers games. Eventually, it hopes to carry Spanish-language games on its regional sports networks in Texas and Florida, as well.

Time Warner Cable is in the process of launching two regional sports networks in Los Angeles around the Lakers — one in English and one in Spanish. Sources have said that Time Warner Cable is asking for a license fee of about $3.50 per subscriber per month for the two channels.

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