VARIETY's Ted Johnson noted Time Warner Cable is "being hit with a class action suit by four Southern California pay TV subscribers," who are claiming that the $11B TWC is paying for rights to the Lakers and Dodgers "will be passed on to consumers, even those who have no interest in watching the games. The lawsuit is the "latest challenge to the cable industry to offer a la carte programming, or at least more options by customers in selecting among tiers of channels." The complaint states that subscribers to other MSOs like DirecTV and Verizon "also are affected" because TWC, in "selling rights to the games to its competitors, requires that they be included in enhanced basic packages without the choice of opting out." The Lakers and Dodgers also were "named in the suit" (VARIETY.com, 6/18).
WATCH THIS: Apple and ESPN this morning announced that WatchESPN will become available through the Apple TV digital streaming platform. Similar to WatchESPN deals with other distributors, content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 will be available for streaming on an authenticated basis. In addition, ESPN will make some content such as short-form clips of "E:60," "Outside The Lines" and "Sport Science" available to anybody through Apple TV. Apple also struck a similar deal with HBO to make HBO Go available on Apple TV (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
STRONG SHOWING: CBS Sports Network and IMG have agreed to a multiyear deal to air the World's Strongest Man competition. The net will air ten 30-minute episodes from the '13 competition, including a one-hour finale. The show will debut on Oct. 16 and air weekly through the finale on Christmas Day. Broadcasters Brent Stover, Aaron Taylor and Bill Kazmaier will appear in the series. CBSSN also will air previous competitions (CBS/IMG).
UNFIT TO PRINT? GRANTLAND's Bryan Curtis noted the N.Y. Times' "Sports of the Times" column has "vanished from the newspaper." However, the paper said the column is "alive and well." Curtis noted the N.Y. Times "once published seven sports columns per week. It has published nine in the past month." Two out of the three sports columnists on staff are "retired and working on emeritus status." Former N.Y. Times Sports Editor Sandy Padwe said, "The fact that it has quietly disappeared from the face of the earth is disturbing to me" (GRANTLAND.com, 6/18).