Is Fox the Best TV Deal for Dodgers?

Back in early September, I had the opportunity (and pleasure) of meeting Tony Kinkela, an executive producer for Time Warner Cable (TWC). Tony is responsible for all current Dodgers pay-per-view broadcasts as well as all broadcasts on their all-new exclusive Lakers channel. Although my conversation with Tony was relatively brief, we did discuss the pending media rights negotiations that would soon be taking place.

Tony Kinkela

Tony pointed out that one of the major selling points that led to the Lakers going with TWC over their rival Fox Sports/Prime Ticket was offering their broadcasts in Spanish – a very wise decision considering the  large Hispanic population in the greater Los Angeles area. (Note: TWC also recently added a Korean broadcast to their Lakers channel). He added that TWC will be offering a similar (but even better) package to the Dodgers when negotiations begin for a new Dodgers media rights contract. As you undoubtedly know, the current contract with Fox Sports/Prime Ticket expires at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Kinkela was quick to point out that even though much of what Fox will be offering to the Dodgers was pioneered by Time Warner Cable (and copied by Fox), he believes that TWC will bring more to the table than Fox, including having the ability to adjust to the lightening fast advances in technology that will occur over the life of the (likely) twenty-year contract. He also noted that the new Dodgers TV rights deal will probably go north of $4 billion dollars – perhaps well north of that figure.

Although there has been a lot in the media over the past couple of days suggesting that the Dodgers and Fox might be closing in on a reported 20-year/$6 billion deal, I wouldn’t call this a Done Deal just yet since Time Warner Cable hasn’t even had an opportunity to offer a counter proposal yet. (Fox received first negotiating rights because they hold the current contract).

All of this being said and with Fox recently acquiring 49% interest of the extremely popular (and successful) Yankees Entertainment & Sports (YES) network, it is speculated that if Fox wins the Dodgers TV rights deal, they could become a serious rival for ESPN on the national and international markets.

News Corp (Fox) CEO Rupert Murdoch recently acquired 49% interest of the very popular YES network. (Photo credit – Jessica Rinaldi)

Stay tuned…

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7 Responses to “Is Fox the Best TV Deal for Dodgers?”

  1. Bluenose Dodger says:

    I hope you are right about that. I really don’t have much of an informed opinion about the whole TV rights contract. It is just that I don’t have a great feeling towards Fox even though they might offer the biggest contract. Fool me once …

  2. Evan Bladh says:

    Be it Fox, TWC, Lifetime, BRAVO, or the Home Shopping Network. I don’t care who it is if they shell out enough $$$ to make the Dodgers a force in all player acquisitions.

    I do think TWC has something there with games offered in foreign languages. Along with NY and Chicago, Los Angeles has the greatest mix of foreign language speakers in the country. Very astute move by TWC to expand the Lakers broadcasting network in that aspect.

  3. echavez2 says:

    I agree, I don’t care who gets the deal as long as the Dodgers get $$$$. I am looking at this from 800 miles away so I have a couple of questions for you who live in the LA area. 1. When the Lakers signed their deal did you cable bill go up in price? 2. I also heard that if they sign with TW that might leave Direct TV subscribers Dodgerless. How true is that? Here in Albuquerque we have Comcast, and they carry Root Sports which has all the Rockies games and FSN Arizona which carries the Diamond backs, plus I get the Extra Innings package. Because Comcast has Root Sports and FSN Arizona, all Diamondback, Rockies games are blacked out on my Extra Innings. This is leading to my question. If TW gets the deal, and a Direct TV subscriber purchases the Extra Innings will the Direct TV customer be blacked out from Dodger games?

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      While researching this article, I found this in the L.A. Times:

      “The new sports service still needs to sign deals with Cox Cable and DirecTV, two of the largest pay-TV operators in the region. Cox and DirecTV are both playing hardball with Time Warner Cable. Each initially offered to carry the channels on a specialty tier that subscribers would have to pay extra to receive. Time Warner Cable rejected that offer as it wants the two channels in as many homes as possible.”

      It sounds to me like TWC is trying to prevent viewers from being gouged by Cox and DirecTV by refusing to allow them to charge more money for the Lakers channel (and undoubtedly the Dodgers channel if they get it).

      While this might initially prevent Cox and DirecTV subscribers from getting these channels right now, I imagine that at some point Cox and DirecTV will forego this additional fee.

      Interestingly enough, AT&T U-Verse just hooked up with TWC, so the pressure is definitely on Cox and DirecTV to play well with others.

      As far as the blackout stuff goes, that’s way above my pay grade to figure out.

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