Verizon FiOS and Charter Communications reached agreements late Friday afternoon to carry Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, providing subscribers with access to every Los Angeles Lakers game starting next week.
The deals, which come four days before the Lakers open the 2012-13 season, are the first major distribution deals in Southern California for the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Deportes channels that launched Oct. 1. On Saturday, Time Warner Cable reached an agreement with AT&T U-Verse as well.
There was no immediate word about when the networks would launch on Verizon FiOS and what channel numbers they would be. Time Warner Cable said more details about the Verizon deal would be announced in the coming days.
Until Friday’s agreements, the only fans in the desert able to watch the local Lakers broadcasts of new stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were Time Warner Cable customers.
The addition of Verizon FiOS and Charter could be a sign that more deals might be around the corner with other television providers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and Cox Communications. Charter has 360,000 subscribers in the Southern California area. It is not known how many Verizon customers are in the desert.
Southern California cable and satellite operators had balked at paying the average monthly fee of $3.95 per subscriber that Time Warner Cable reportedly was charging for the two regional sports networks.
Earlier this week, both DirecTV and Cox said they want to add the channel on a speciality sports tier that subscribers would pay to receive. Time Warner Cable wants the two networks to be broadcast on a more widely distributed package.
SportsNet and Deportes will broadcast their first Lakers game Wednesday against Portland. Time Warner Cable SportsNet will exclusively carry 53 of the Lakers’ 82 games. The rest are national games that will be telecast by ESPN, TNT and ABC.
In the desert, SportsNet and Deportes are available on Time Warner Cable channels 403 and 481 in HD and 28 and 35 in standard.