expected, the Los Angeles Dodgers will form their own regional sports network,
with an affiliate and advertising helping hand from Time Warner Cable.
Guggenheim Partners, the group that purchased the Dodgers
last year for a record $2.15 billion, in December formed American Media
Productions, LLC, which Monday is announcing SportsNet LA, the new RSN home for
the club, beginning with the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
For its part, Time Warner Cable has reached a long-term deal
to become SportsNet LA's charter distributor, carrying the service throughout
Southern California and Hawaii. Moreover, in return for agreeing to make
payments over the life of the deal, the nation's No. 2 cable operator will
serve as the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent for the RSN and will
have certain branding and programming rights. TWC will also provide certain
non-game production and technical services to AMP.
The agreement with TWC is subject to certain closing
conditions. Additional terms were not disclosed, but published reports place
the value of the deal, spanning some 20 to 25 years, at between $7 billion to
$8 billion. That would make it the most lucrative local TV deal in history.
TWC, which has some 2 million homes in Dodgers territory, will reportedly pick
up the network's monthly subscriber fee if other distributors don't carry the
service, which could carry a license north of $4 per month.