Johnson Nears Regional Sports Deal


Black Entertainment Television founder and Charlotte National Basketball
Association expansion-team owner Bob Johnson is close to cutting a deal with
Time Warner Cable to carry a regional sports network that he plans to build
around the club, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

"We think we have had some very good discussions with AOL Time Warner [Inc.,
parent company of Time Warner Cable], and we have exchanged some limited
documents about the terms of the deal, and we hope within the next month or so,
we will have a partnership," Johnson told the Journal last week.

When asked why he didn't go the route of most NBA clubs and forge a deal with
an existing network, he said, "I think my background gives me a unique vantage
point to launch a regional sports channel. My background is in programming, and
I understand how programming can add a value to your core business, which, in
this case, is basketball."

The still-unnamed team -- it is choosing between Bobcats, Dragons and Flight
-- will begin play in the 2004-05 NBA season.