Esteves: Sports Programming Moves a Defensive Play - Multichannel

Esteves: Sports Programming Moves a Defensive Play

Time Warner Cable CFO Says Distribution Makes Sense
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Despite its recent forays into sports programming, Time Warner Cable chief financial officer Irene Esteves said the second largest MSO in the nation is committed to its distribution business.  

“We still think it makes sense for us to be a distribution company,” Esteves said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications conference in San Francisco Wednesday.. “That’s where we are focused.”

Time Warner has entered into two high-profile sports deals over the past two years, purchasing long-term rights to air Los Angeles Lakers games in 2011 for an estimated $3 billion, which helped fuel the launch of its Time Warner Cable Sports Net and Time Warner Cable Deportes regional sports networks in the market.  Earlier this year the MSO reached a deal to carry Los Angeles Dodger games on another RSN beginning next year for an estimated $8 billion.

At the conference, Esteves said the Lakers and Dodger deals were defensive moves to stave off the high cost of sports programming, not a signal of a new direction for the company.

“The only reason we’re in the programming business on the sports rights is in order to minimize the net cost to us,” Esteves said. “If we thought we could buy sport rights programming at a reasonable cost over a long per of time, we certainly would continue to do that. But we’re looking at escalating costs for this must-have programming and we needed to offset that risk somewhat and we’re doing that with the Lakers and the Dodgers deals that we have. It’s strictly to reduce our costs. It’s not a business we would