DirecTV signs with Time Warner Cable for Lakers channel


DirecTVThe carriage agreement includes Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet, which is the new television home for the Lakers, and Deportes, the Spanish-language sister channel of SportsNet. With 1.7 million subscribers in Southern California, having DirecTV on board is crucial to the long-term success of SportsNet.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and are happy to have arrived at an outcome that benefits everyone involved,” said Dan York, chief content officer for DirecTV. Other distributors carrying the channel include Cox Cable, Charter, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.

While neither the terms nor the length of the deal were disclosed, Time Warner Cable was seeking as much as $3.95 per subscriber, per month for the two channels. That is a very high price tag even for a regional sports network.

Time Warner Cable has the rights to the Lakers for the next 20 years and is paying an average of $150 million per season, according to The LA Times.

With DirecTV out of the way, the last hurdle for Time Warner Cable is Dish Network, the satellite broadcaster that has about 850,000 subscribers in the region. Dish is a tough negotiator and so far little progress has been made in talks. However, now that everyone else is on board, Dish may feel it needs the channel to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage in the market.

Per the agreement, DirecTV is making SportsNet and Deportes available to all its subscribers. DirecTV initially wanted to put the channel on a specialty tier that subscribers would have to request to see. Time Warner Cable was greatly opposed to that approach because it would limit revenue from subscription fees and advertisers.

Reportedly, DirecTV will try to have the channel up and running for the 11/16 game against the Suns. The deal leaves Dish Network as the biggest remaining holdout not carrying either of the channels, which have carriage on TWC, Cox, Charter, AT&T, Verizon and Bright House in LA.

See The LA Times story here