It will launch sometime after the 2013 season, most likely in 2014 in advance of that year’s MLB regular season. Time Warner Cable will distribute it. The Los Angeles Dodgers will own and program it. The Dodgers will receive $7-8 billion annually over a 25 year period. And with the new channel, it means the new channel will seek $5 per subscriber and it also means that cable and satellite bills will go up.
It also means a probable battle between cable and satellite providers just before and after the regional sports network’s launch as the providers balk at the subscriber fee.
One can’t blame the Dodgers for taking the money. They had Fox and Time Warner waging an all-out battle for the rights. Both companies offered megabucks to bring the team into the fold.
However, one has to wonder if the rising sports rights fees will eventually price consumers from watching their favorite teams and sports on television.
We have a statement from the Dodgers:
DODGERS’ STATEMENT ON NEW REGIONAL NETWORK
Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten released the following statement this morning regarding the new Los Angeles Dodgers regional sports network:
“The launch of the new regional sports network is a historic development for the Dodgers and our passionate fans,” said Stan Kasten, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Our commitment from day one has been to build the Dodgers into the best team possible, both on and off the field. Our fans deserve the best - the best players, the best baseball, and the best experience – whether that’s at the newly renovated Dodger Stadium or on television.”
“Our mission is to have the most fan-friendly sports programming, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from our Dodger Community. We look forward to sharing updates with fans in the coming months. In the meantime, we remain very excited about the upcoming 2013 season where we will be showcasing our incredible new roster and the many enhancements to Dodger Stadium, as well as continuing our commitment to broadcast excellence with our current partners Fox Sports and KCAL 9.”
As the statement mentions, the Dodgers will remain on Fox Sports Prime Ticket and KCAL-TV for the 2013 season.
We’ll continue to monitor this story as developments warrant. The new network is still pending MLB approval, but that appears to be a formality at this point.