What The New Lakers & Time Warner Deal Means For Everyone

photo credit: Jae C. Hong

The new TV rights deal the Lakers completed with Time Warner Cable is reported to be worth $3 billion, according to the Los Angeles Times. Announced out of the blue on Monday,  Time Warner will launch two new regional sports networks in time for the Lakers’ 2012-13 season.  Meaning no more KCAL 9 broadcasts (hope everyone has cable) and Fox Sports West is left with the Clippers -not a bad thing but still…

It also means that Time Warner will have to convince Direct TV, the Dish Network etc. to pick up those 2 new stations  in the Lakers’ territory, which includes all of Southern California, Nevada and Hawaii. Ultimately, consumers will be facing fee hikes in the near future.

The yet to be named channels will not only broadcast games but also a nightly Lakers news magazine show as well as develop and create both original and historical Lakers programming. The second channel will be broadcast in Spanish as well as have programming that targets that demographic.  That aspect alone in this deal is a HUGE win as the Latino community in Los Angeles are big supporters of the Lakers.

The Lakers had been receiving  approximately $30 million per year from Fox for the right to broadcast games on FoxSports West locally. That comes out to about 60 exclusive local games per season, or $500,000 per game (the Lakers are often televised nationally on ESPN/ABC, TNT and NBA TV which explains the 60 game figure).

The new deal, executed for 20 years, comes out to about an estimated $2.5 million per game.

Another win in all of this,  Jerry Buss, who bought the Lakers in the 70’s and created the Showtime experience, was concerned that estate taxes upon his death would put his family’s ownership of the Lakers in danger.

This deal should take care of those concerns since the NBA has no real revenue sharing when it comes to local T.V. deals.  Meaning, the Lakers will keep the bankroll from this new venture allowing him to pay those taxes in advance.

One area of concern for players and small market teams continues to be the fight for revenue sharing closer to that which the NFL has. I’m sure this is something that will come up during the talks that happen between the Players Association and the NBA during All-Star weekend and again during CBA negotiations.

So who at Time-Warner will be greenlighting shows for the network? I need to get in touch with them because, they NEED me. 😉