Britt: Time Warner Cable Will Look at Adding L.A. Sports


With the launch of its two regional
sports networks in Los Angeles anticipated in the fourth
quarter, Time Warner Cable will look to buy additional
team rights as they become available — including those
of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

Time Warner Cable reached a 20-year deal for rights to
the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers
in February 2011, a pact that will anchor the two regional
sports networks for the cable operator (one a dedicated
Spanish-language channel).

The RSNs, slated to launch in the fourth quarter, have
also acquired additional sports rights from Major League
Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy and the WNBA’s Los Angeles

Speculation was high that the cable giant may try to
acquire rights to — or even buy an equity stake in — the
Dodgers, after the team was sold for a record $2.15 billion
to a group led by hedge fund Guggenheim Partners and
including legendary Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

On a conference call with analysts to discuss first quarter
TWC chairman and CEO
Glenn Britt said the cable
giant was open to acquiring
additional rights, but
that he suspected most
teams are locked into
agreements with other
parties for the foreseeable

Britt stressed that the
objective of launching
the networks is to stabilize
costs and make them
more consistent over a
long period of time.

“Where rights come
available, as they did
with the Lakers, if we think
we can buy them for a price that makes sense for us over
the long run, we’ll do that,” Britt said. “I don’t anticipate
there’s going to be tons of those. Most of the sports rights
are tied up for many,
many years to come.”

On the Dodgers, he
added, “If those become
available and are offered
to us, we’ll take a look at

Rights to Dodgers
games are currently held
by Fox Sports’ Prime
Ticket RSN through
2013, but Fox has an exclusive
45-day negotiating
window with the
team through Nov. 30.
After that, those rights
are up for grabs, and the
team’s options include
extending its deal with Fox,
selling rights to another third party or launching its own
RSN, akin to the YES Network, owned in part by the New
York Yankees.