Time Warner Cable to Initiate Sports Fee in January

Will Charge $2.75 Monthly Sports Programming Surcharge, Other Fees Rise

Time Warner Cable will join the growing list of pay TV distributors charging additional fees for sports programming, tacking on an additional $2.75 per month to customers’ bills beginning in January to help offset rising costs.

Time Warner Cable is one of several distributors that said they were either implementing or increasing their sports surcharge in 2015, including Cablevision Systems, DirecTV and Mediacom Communications.

In addition, Time Warner Cable said it would increase its nine-month old broadcast TV surcharge to $2.75 per month from $2.25 and would increase its monthly modem lease fee from $5.98 to $8 next year. Customers can avoid the lease charge if they purchase their own modems.

About 75% of customers that receive Time Warner Cable’s standard TV service or above will not be charged the Sports Programming Fee because they are currently under promotional offers. Their monthly charges will increase once their promotional period ends.  

Time Warner Cable said broadcast fees have risen more than 60% in the past two years and that the cost of cable sports channels has increased 91% since 2008. The company said the charges only represent a fraction of what it pays to programmers.

Ironically or not, Time Warner Cable has been called out by other operators as one of the main culprits in rising sports costs – its Time Warner Cable Sports Net and SportsNet LA (The Los Angeles Dodgers-owned network that TWC manages) in Los Angeles are among the priciest regional sports networks in the country.

TWC also said that it will increase fees for customers that receive Home Box Office on a standalone basis – an admittedly small number of customers. Those subscribers would see their bill rise to $16.99 per month from $14.99 monthly. Customers who receive HBO as part of a package will not see an increase.