Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt addressed the
elephant in the room on a conference call with analysts Thursday, adding that
its recent regional sports network deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers will help
the MSO manage escalating sports costs in the long term.
Time Warner Cable agreed to a 25-year
deal to distribute the Dodger's RSN (dubbed SportsNet LA) in the Los
Angeles market earlier this week. Although terms of the deal were not
disclosed, published reports estimate Time Warner Cable spent between $7
billion and $8 billion for the privilege of distributing the channel.
On a conference call with analysts to discuss its fourth-quarter
results, Britt said the MSO's sports strategy in Los Angeles -- last year it
agreed to spend an estimated $3 billion to carry Los Angeles Lakers National
Basketball Association games for 20 years and formed another RSN, Time
Warner Cable SportsNet -- has been to lock down its costs over a
longer period of time.
"We do not pretend that these deals are inexpensive or
cheap," Britt said on the call. "Our sense is if we are going to carry these
games, they are going to be expensive. We think what we've done with these
deals is to minimize and stabilize the costs over a long time period. But we're
not trying to pretend that the first year is really, really cheap or anything."