Time Warner-Dodgers TV Deal Becomes Official This Morning
Time Warner Cable’s 25-year, $7B deal with the Dodgers will become official this morning and will lead to the creation of a sixth RSN for the L.A. market. The Dodgers will launch SportsNet L.A. in '14 through American Media Productions, a fully owned subsidiary that the team quietly launched just last month. TWC will not have an ownership stake in the RSN. Rather, it will handle all ad sales and affiliate sales for the channel. TWC has assumed most of the risk around the channel and promised to cover affiliate fees from distributors who refuse to carry it.
It is too early to determine how much TWC will charge for the channel, but it is certain to be one of the country's highest-priced RSNs. TWC Exec VP and Chief Video & Content Officer Melinda Witmer said that the deal makes sense for TWC because it builds cost certainty into their business. "Being able to secure the content for a very, very long time without the risk of third-party decision making around the rate of increases on the product is very helpful," she said. "We have an opportunity to secure content we want for a long time to come and to have control over our economic destiny."
TWC already has agreed to carry the service in southern California and Hawaii. TWC will provide non-game production and technical services to the network. The Dodgers will spend one more season on the Fox Sports-owned Prime Ticket before launching SportsNet L.A.