Dodgers New T.V. Deal Reached With Time Warner For 2014
By Scott Andes
Apparently next season, if you want to watch the Dodgers then you better have cable through Time Warner. That’s the direction televised sports are moving to these days now. According to a release from the Dodgers, they have come to an agreement on a new t.v. deal with Time Warner cable for a new Dodger regional sports network that will be called SportsnetLA, and will serve as the team’s exclusive local home. The deal is still pending approval from MLB and has not been officially announced yet. (According to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, the deal is for 25 years and seven billion dollars!)
Apparently back in December, the new ownership created a group called AMP or American Media Productions to launch the new sports network. The new cable network called SportsnetLA will be the Dodgers new television home beginning for the 2014 season. Apparently according to the report, the new cable network will feature more in depth Dodger programming and features then ever before.
Time Warner cable has agreed to be SportsnetLA’s charter distributor, and will carry the network throughout Southern California and Hawaii on a long term affiliation contract. TWC will be the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent for the new network and will have certain branding and programming rights, or so I was told.
Financial terms of the new deal are not yet released, however they are believed to be in the 7-8 billion dollar range. Yes guys, I said Billions! This new t.v. deal is going to bring in a river of revenue into Dodger land, and if you’re wondering how they’re going to pay for the contracts of Zack Greinke, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw’s upcoming contract extension, and the gigantic payroll they now have, well this is how my friends.
Mark Walter the Chairman of the Dodgers, had this to say about the new television deal. “We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want – more content and more Dodger baseball – was to launch our own network. The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a World Championship home to Los Angeles. Just as we are actively transforming the team and the stadium, we want the Dodgers to be exhibited on the very best sports network in the country – one that will provide an unrivaled fan experience.”
That’s the way things are moving to right now. More and more teams are trying to purchase their own regional sports networks. Remember the Lakers just recently did the same thing, and ended their 35 year run on KCAL 9 by moving to their own regional sports network on Time Warner cable (also called Sportsnet). Now apparently TWC has stolen another LA team away. So what will happen is everything will remain the same for the 2013 season. The Dodgers will be on Prime Ticket for 2013, and then move to the new cable channel for the 2014 season. Currently the Dodgers have been on Prime Ticket since it’s creation for the Dodgers in 1997 by Fox Sports. The Dodgers also televise other games on their local channel of KCAL 9. Here is some important things to remember about this new television deal and what it means for Dodger fans.
First of all once the team makes the move to the new sports network, it means they will not be on Prime Ticket, or KCAL 9 anymore. All of the games will be on that one channel. I don’t know if other providers will be carrying the channel, but for now only TWC will be carrying it. The same thing happened with the new Lakers channel, but I think other providers are finally starting to carry it now. What this means for Dodger fans living in Southern California and Hawaii, is basically that if you don’t have Time Warner Cable, then you better get them soon. I doubt this will be carried on Dish. At least not at first. If you already have Time Warner Cable then you have nothing to worry about. (Thank god I have Time Warner Cable at my place).
So Again so all Dodger fans are aware, starting in 2014 there will be no more Dodger games televised on Prime Ticket, or KCAL 9. All Dodger games starting in 2014 will be televised on the new regional sports station now known as SportsnetLA. For the Dodger fans living outside of Southern California, your best bet to watch games is to get an MLB.tv account and stream the games over the internet. If you live in market though, you better get Time Warner Cable. I would do it now and prepare.
The new Dodger ownership group has been wonderful, followig through on their promises to Dodger fans.-Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
As for Prime Ticket, they will continue to run. Fox feels they have enough content to continue to run the station after the Dodgers leave. Fox had an exclusive negotiating window with the Dodgers earlier that expired after neither side could come to an agreement. We had been hearing for weeks now that a new television deal was in the works, and that Time Warner cable had jumped out into the lead.
Time Warner Cable had this to say about the deal…..
"“We are delighted to support the Dodgers and their ownership group in their launch of SportsNet LA. The Dodgers have one of the most passionate and loyal audiences in sports, and we look forward to helping deliver this new network to their fans,” said David Rone, President of Time Warner Cable Sports. “This deal, like our Lakers’ deal, furthers our efforts to attain greater certainty and control over local and regional sports programming costs.”"
Bill Shakin reports that the issue of the revenue sharing that was previously thought to be a hold up does not pertain to the new television deal. It was thought that the Dodgers had to negotiate with MLB as to how much in revenue sharing they would be paying to MLB. Apparently that is not a roadblock to this deal.
This whole new thing stars next year for the 2014 season. Let me tell you guys, the new owners mean business. It’s a brand new Dodger world in 2013, and it’s a wonderful place to be a part of.