The NBA season is less than a week away and fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are increasingly concerned whether or not they will be able to catch Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard & Co. on TV.
If you are a Time Warner Cable customer in Southern California, then you have nothing to worry about. You will see all 82 Lakers games this season. The new Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes stations are available on your channel lineup.
If you get your TV programming courtesy of DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS or on Cox Communications outside of the Coachella Valley, then you are probably worried as talks appear headed down to the wire.
Time Warner Cable is seeking as much as $3.95 for SportsNet and Deportes (the Spanish-language sports channel). Earlier Wednesday, Cox Communications said its offer to carry the new networks on a specialty tier along with other sports programming was turned down.
Time Warner Cable Sports released a statement Wednesday evening concerning negotiations, responding directly to earlier statements from DirecTV and Cox Communications.
Here’s the statement from Time Warner Cable Sports:
“With the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, two networks and unprecedented behind-the-scenes programming, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes are delivering tremendous value for Southern California sports fans. Any assertion that we are the highest priced regional sports outlet in the country is simply untrue; as a significant buyer of regional sports across the country, we know that there are higher priced regional sports networks, including Root Sports that we buy from DirecTV. Cox and DirecTV know that there is no regional sports network anywhere in the country that is offered on an optional tier — that would be unprecedented. If Cox or DirecTV choose not to carry our networks, we and their customers will be very disappointed but we are confident there will be other alternatives for their customers to see this highly-anticipated Lakers season.”
Under a 20-year deal that begins this season, Time Warner Cable paid about $3 billion for the rights to Lakers games, to be broadcast on its new regional networks.
National networks ESPN, ABC and TNT will broadcast a combined 25 regular-season Lakers games this season. That means 57 Lakers games will be exclusively carried on the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
The Lakers open the season Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Staples Center against the Dallas Mavericks. That game will air on TNT. However, the next night, Time Warner Cable SportsNet is the only place to catch the second game of the season at Portland on Halloween.