Cable Operators

FS San Diego to Toss out MLB Season Opener with TWC, U-verse, Dish on Distribution Bench

4/05/2012 5:12 PM Eastern

Save for a late rally, Fox Sports San Diego's telecast of the San Diego Padres' April 5 season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers will not be seen by area subscribers to Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse and Dish Network.
With first pitch in the offing, the new RSN, which will televise 157 Padres ballgames during the 2012 Major League Baseball season, has affiliate pacts with Cox Communications and DirecTV, but had not yet reached deals with the other trio of distributors.
Through its deals with Cox, which was the longtime TV home of the Padres via Cox4 channel, and DirecTV, FS San Diego will reach about 60% of subscribers in the area, according to the programmer.
At press time, the chances of bottom-of-the-ninth deals with the other three distributors in the area seemed unlikely.
A Fox spokesman said "negotiations have stalled with Time Warner Cable. There haven't been any meaningful conversations in weeks. We're still waiting them to respond to our latest proposal."
Time Warner Cable, which has previously indicated that Fox has been seeking a 400% increase in license fee over what Cox charged last year, declined comment on Thursday. The MSO had also noted earlier that since it already receives Los Angeles Clippers National Basketball Association and Anaheim Ducks National Hockey League games in San Diego via Fox's Prime Ticket RSN, it, in effect, would be paying twice.
Fox has said distributors have the option to carry FS SD, which also offers Ducks and Clippers contests, in lieu of Prime Ticket.

That's what DirecTV says it will do that at some point in the future. Before it begins offering FS SD full-time, the DBS leader has committed to carrying the 157 Padres contests, as well as their flanking pre- and post-game shows, on chanel 694. Prime Ticket is located on channel 693.
For its part, Cox is carrying the RSN full-time in both standard- and high-definition formats.
FS SD presented its first telecast with a Padres exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals on March 17, even though MLB has yet to finalize its approval of the RSN in the wake of some team ownership issues,
As for the Padres' opening series opponent at Petco Park, the Dodgers could prove to be a point of even greater contention between Fox and Time Warner Cable in the months ahead.
While a new ownership group led by Mark Walters' financial services firm Guggenheim Partners and including basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson and baseball executive Stan Kasten have succeeded with a $2.15 billion purchase of the baseball team -- the most ever for a sports franchise -- from beleaguered owner Frank McCourt out of bankruptcy court., the club's media rights remain uncertain.

Fox's Prime Ticket holds the media rights through the 2013 season, as well as an exclusive 45-day negotiating period that ends on Nov. 30. Should Fox fail to reach a deal with the new owners, Time Warner Cable will likely may a play.
The MSO has already wrested Los Angeles Lakers rights from Fox in a deal reportedly valued at some $3 billion over a 20-year period. Time Warner Cable plans to tip off a pair of Lakers-centric services -- one in Spanish -- before the start of the 2012-13 National Basketball Association come fall.
Media bidding rights for the Dodgers figure to go higher than a Matt Kemp drive lifted deep into the night at Chavez Ravine.

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