Lakers sign mega deal with Time Warner Cable

The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers signed a new superstar Monday to a 20 year deal – and it’s not an athlete.

The “star” is Time Warner Cable, who announced Monday it has signed a 20-year deal with the Lakers to broadcast all non-national televised games on not one, but two regional sports networks it is planning for 2012.

The first RSN Time Warner Cable network is an English-language channel featuring Lakers games televised in high-definition as a centerpiece with pre-and post-game shows, interactive content, behind-the-scenes programming and classic games. The network is being made available on all systems (cable and satellite) in Southern California, plus Laker-fan hotbeds in  Nevada and Hawaii.

The second channel planned is a Spanish language RSN – it will produce games in Spanish and in high def. The move makes sense, given the Los Angeles market is 40 percent Hispanic. The planned channel would become the first Spanish language regional sports channel in the United States (In Quebec, there is an French-language sports channel named Reseau des Sports, or RDS, and they are the exclusive home of all French-language Montreal Canadiens telecasts.)

Time Warner Cable’s deal effectively ends the long relationship the Lakers had with Fox Sports Net and CBS-owned independent KCAL-TV. Lakers’ home games have been a staple of Fox Sports West dating back to the Prime Ticket days, a RSN founded in 1985 by Lakers owner Jerry Buss and became Fox Sports West in 1996 after Prime Ticket was purchased by News Corporation (the Prime Ticket name is still in use for Fox’s second sports channel in Los Angeles.)

KCAL has been broadcasting Lakers’ road games since November 1977 (when the station was known as KHJ-TV. It became KCAL in 1989 after being purchased by The Walt Disney Co.) The loss is a huge blow for KCAL, since Lakers games are among the highest-rated fare on the station. The departure also continues a trend of local sporting rights leaving over-the-air broadcast stations for cable (WGN here carries 25 Bulls games a year, while New York’s WWOR-TV carries a handful for New Jersey Nets produced by the YES network.)

Ironically, Time Warner Cable is owned by shareholders of the company, and not by the big media conglomerate its named after (it was spun off from Time Warner in 2008.)

But don’t feel bad for Fox Sports West for losing the Lakers… they still have rights to their crosshall rivals – um, the Los Angeles Clippers.


5 thoughts on “Lakers sign mega deal with Time Warner Cable

    • I have always been able to watch my Lakers games with DISH Network plus all the other teams as well. DISH Network customers get HD free for life and the picture quality is perfect. Being a Dish Network employee I know with DISH you can get the NBA league pass so you do not miss any of your favorite games and we have NFL Network and NFL Redzone which time Warner does not have. Come check this out on DISH Network online website.

    • They are starting to make some big bucks.
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    • Starting to? They're already there! (LOL)

    • Thanks, Darius,Good to see some nuances in discssuions about the Lakers. Most of us agree that the Laker organization has put together an interesting roster that could be molded into a championship team. The challenges of this molding process has already cost Mike Brown his job and Mike D is struggling. Here are my components of concern:Balance: the team must have a balance between offense and defense, balanced scoring, and predictable substitute patterns.Flexibility: the team needs to adapt this balance appropriately to defeat fundamentally different opponents. Sometimes that wuill be through tempo, sometimes through emphasis, sometimes through substitution patterns.cohesion: a sense of buy-in from the entire roster. It leads inevitably to the right kind of chemistry.Trades: only as a last resort.Here’s my nuanced analysis:D’Antoni has come in with a showtime mandate, a slowtime team, no preseason, and extremely limited tolerance for losing from everyone. His assistant coaches have almost entirely been held over from a contrary rigorous Princeton era and philosophy. Key players still think in terms of alternate approaches. Only a few players have worked with D’Antoni’s approach, but Steve Nash might be able to adapt D’Antoni’s approach to meet these diverse challenges or not.Mike D’Antoni has already been able to successfully implement features of his Phoenix approach: 3 point shooting has dramatically improved. He’s also discovered a small ball combination that has been more successful than the classic superstar alignment he inherited, but if overused, it unbalances the team, and cries out for risky trades with unpredictable consequences for team chemistry.D’Antoni must balance the scoring potential of Meeks with the defensive potential of Hill, integrate the very different contributions of Dwight and Pau, and find meaningful roles for Ebanks and Morris, while providing opportunities for Jamison to provide his special offensive touch.D’Antoni must find a way to manage Kobe. If he can, everything is possible. If he can’t, the Lakers will be inconsistent, even moody within and between games and D’Antoni will fare no better and possibly worse than last season’s Lakers under Mike Brown.These are interesting times.

      • It is going to be tough road ahead for the Lakers to rebuild and return to their former glory. D’Antoni is likely gone after this season and management is going to have to figure out where they want to go with this franchise after this season. The fan apathy and poor record is unprecedented. It’s amazing how many Lakers are still left on the NBA’s national TV schedule – it’s like a bad TV show that just hangs around (like “Revolution”.)

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