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Time Warner wants to charge a lot of money for the new Dodgers channel

Nov 29, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT

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Josh Kosman and Claire Atkinson of the New York Post are hearing from sources that the Time Warner is having a tough time getting other cable systems to carry their new Dodgers channel:

Time Warner Cable has yet to start negotiations for the Dodgers network, named SportsNet LA, and already several pay-TV providers are balking at the expected asking price, sources said.

“They know several distributors will say no [to Dodgers channel] because of the costs,” said one source.
While Time Warner Cable gained distribution for its SportsNet and Deportes channels last year, the contentious negotiations with distributors left little appetite for another pricey deal.

They report that the Dodgers are going to ask $5 per subscriber at the outset but that over time it will escalate to $8 per subscriber. Which is really, really high compared to other regional sports networks’ carriage prices. But that’s also what Time Warner needs to pay the Dodgers the $8 billion over 25 years it agreed to pay the Dodgers for TV rights.

This will all be passed on to consumers in the form of higher cable bills. Which, if you’re a Dodgers fan, you probably won’t mind if the alternative is not being able to see your team. If you’re not a Dodgers fan, however, and you just want to watch old movies or reality shows or whatever? At some point you’re gonna start to get mad, right?

  1. ezthinking - Nov 29, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Not half as pisssed as if I found out what they charge for WE or HSN or the Oprah channel.

    • tjwilliams - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      I’m not sure if you’re serious, because WE’s carriage fee is running about $.11 right now, OWN is at $.02 and HSN doesn’t receive carriage fees, they actually pay the cable company to be carried.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        That might just be horror at having to support “women’s channels.”

  2. mcsnide - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I’m more and more convinced that these insane TV contracts for sports are a bubble. Eventually, people who don’t watch sports will get tired of subsidizing those who do and cut the cord. At some point, the only thing left on cable will be HBO and sports and the remaining subscribers will pay through the nose. Sports leagues are stuck in a 20th-century delivery model and need to be more forward-thinking. I cut cable a year ago and like MLB TV, but I don’t understand the blackout model. I’d happily pay an extra $5 per month to subsidize the RSN (which is more than they get from cable on a per-subscriber basis) to be able to watch the local team live.

    • stoutfiles - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Which would be fine, IF

      a) Cable providers wouldn’t jack up the internet costs as well to offset this. It’s easy to cut TV but difficult to cut internet.

      b) Many areas only have one cable/internet option.

    • mtr75 - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      The blackout restriction is easy to bypass. Just use a VPN.

      • jm91rs - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        I “cut the cord” a few months ago. So far so good, but I’ll need to get through next year. I guess the blackouts are gonna piss me off too.

  3. pixteca - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Just hear them on the radio or go to the ballpark. At Bat app too.

    • spudchukar - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Which of course works wonderfully if you are a Cards fan living in Central Idaho.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 29, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Just watch the local team then. Oh, wait….

        You’re probably in like 4 blackout zones too.

      • spudchukar - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Only Colorado and Seattle. Used to be Kansas City too, which cracked me up.

  4. deep64blue - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    No idea why people in the States put up with this, in Europe you have Basic Cable / Satellite then you pay for Premium packages like Sports, Movies etc. No way would the US system fly over here.

    • mtr75 - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Because in Europe the politicians aren’t bought with campaign contributions to protect the interests of their corporate paymasters.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        You are a wise man mtr……MTR………..that is exactly the reason. This is the reason it is such an outrage. Team owners want to big shots by showering athletes in multi million dolar contracts and make even more themselves……………fans are quick to talk about how insane contracts are justified and how this is is worth 30 million a season and that one 25……..and that would be correct if all the costs were paid only by those fans —but clearly many who don’t want it -including some sports fans get it jammed down their throats and on top of tht ownership is always looking to even further support from the taxpayer…………I’m a sports fan and can afford it and am willing to pay it—- but to foist upon others a cost for my enjoyment is simply wrong.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        “Because in Europe the politicians aren’t bought with campaign contributions to protect the interests of their corporate paymasters.”

        Silvio Berlusconi approves this message.

  5. anxovies - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Eventually, as video streaming becomes more popular all sports leagues will begin streaming their games like does and we will be watching them on our Rokus and XBoxes.

  6. Glenn - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    As a Red Sox fan, I remember being furious when my cable company charged me an extra $2 per month for adding the MSG network. I had already been getting all of the Yankee games but now I was going to have to give money directly to the Steinbrenners. That was the beginning of the big wealth gap in MLB. When I called to complain, all the representative would say was “It’s not two dollars, sir, it’s $1.99” every time I said “Two dollars”. But with the local cable monopoly, all I could do was take it.

  7. echech88 - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This is the same market that will be forced to pay for the Angels’ higher rates as well even if they are Dodger fans.

    …after already getting hosed on paying for the Lakers’ new channel.

    I pity the non-sport fan that will be forced to pay close to $200 a year for sports teams they do not care about.

    • Anoesis - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      There is an increasingly larger percentage of TV viewers who are fleeing traditional bundled content for a la carte programming for that very reason. Many younger people do not subscribe to any major cable or satellite companies and instead pay for exactly what they want to view over the internet via companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Prime.

      This will be the new business model that renders the current one obsolete. Clueless money-grubbers like Time Warner are accelerating the process and will end up having many fewer outlets on which to sell advertising.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        TV is dying.

      • gloccamorra - Nov 30, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        @historiophiliac, that’s exactly what Captain Picard said in an episode of TNG, that TV was a fad that died out early in the 21st century. I’ll have to buy the boxed set of every season to see what else he predicted. It’ll be like reading Nostradamus!

  8. sportsfan69 - Nov 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    This is the beginning when you began to see the customer, stop subscribing to Cable and Satellite. Time Warner CEO needs to be held accountable for approving a ridiculous 8 year deal.

  9. nickp91 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    It will be interesting to see if this new channel has as difficult of a time getting carriage as Time Warner Cable Sportsnet originally did

  10. sfm073 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Traditional tv watching will be dead in 10 years. As soon as I get the recourses I’ll be ditching cable.

  11. jdillydawg - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I love watching sports, but the TV model is just getting ridiculous. This isn’t how capitalism is supposed to work, is it? Non-Consumers are forced to pay an exorbitant price for something they don’t want so that that MLB teams (who are the last remaining sanctioned monopoly in America) can pay exorbitant salaries to their players.

    Whatever happened to supply and demand? Or is the new model, “We’ll supply, who gives a sh#% what you demand?”

    • moogro - Nov 29, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      And it will be bad for baseball. For a lot of teams, the playoffs are starting lo look more like 2-3 year windows followed by 5-10 years or more of rebuilding. And for those short windows, truly having a shot at actually winning the World Series against far better teams on paper will be against long odds.

  12. thepoolshark - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I remember getting my first satellite dish…Direct TV…in 1999. I forgot what the monthly was, but I kept dropping services until all I had was ESPN and the basic channels, for $10/month…and still thought it was a ripoff. After 6 months I moved and left the satellite dish on the roof, even though I had paid $100 for it or something. Ebay was still a wet dream, and I didn’t have time to take it down, much less sell it, and didn’t even miss it. I have never had cable or Satellite since then, and don’t watch TV at all. I have MLB.TV and it’s all I need. My landlord pays more each MONTH for Comcast than my yearly MLB.TV fee, and bundled with his phone and internet is paying $200 month for 999 channels, which he scans constantly to find something he has watched less than 10 times already.

    Meanwhile, I have read hundreds of books the last 14 years, spent an extra 3-4 hours/day living a life without commercials, sitcoms, and news horrors. TV can go stick its head where the sun don’t shine. I won’t even notice the day it disappears off the air for good, which can’t come too soon.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 30, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      Some people might call you a Communist, or lotus eater, or granola muncher, or worse. Keep up the good work.

      • jdillydawg - Dec 1, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Or someone who realizes there’s more to life than TV. Since when did not watching cable brand one as a Communist, lotus eater, granola muncher or worse?

        Is Couch Potato the new cool?

  13. uscthom78 - Nov 29, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Its much clearer now that sports teams such as the Dodgers and the Lakers target market is the affluent 1%. A similar shift in target market for cable companies, who are focusing on customers that can pay them $200 a month.

  14. drewzducks - Nov 29, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    On the bright side this just means that less people will end up watching the disappointing end to the Dodgers season, again.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      By then, the NFL season has started, and they’re watching those games for free.

  15. sdsockers - Nov 30, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    By the way, I’m a Time Warner cable customer, living in San Diego. Time Warner Cable hasn’t shown Padre games for two years. I cannot watch them, unless I ditch TWC and go with Direct TV or something like that.
    Think about that; 40% of San Diego residents have been unable to watch our Padres for two years now. How well do you think that would go over in, say, St. Louis? New York? Boston?
    I wonder how the ‘negotiations’ will go, up in Los Angeles? Will the Dodgers and TWC resort to the same pissing contest that has been happening down here, and 40% of Angelinos will be blocked from watching their Dodgers?

    • gloccamorra - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Funny Time Warner won’t pay to carry Fox Sports San Diego because it’s too high, but they’ll be charging OTHER carriers even more for the Dodgers channel. They’ll tell you the cable carrier and the sports networks are separate companies, but who are they fooling but themselves?

      Anyway, it’s down to 22% of San Diego that can’t get Padres games, now that DirecTV and AT&T Uverse have moved into Time Warner’s territory. T-W said they’d have to do something if they lose too many customers, and it looks like they’re getting close to the nitty-gritty decision. Competition: it’s a wonderful thing.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Also, New York HAS had the same problem with a sports network, and the cable carrier involved was also Time Warner. New York also had a blackout on Time Warner of all Disney channels, including ABC, A&E, History channel and of course, the Disney Channel. New Yorkers were for a time unable to watch Hanna Montana when Miley Cyrus was still faking ‘wholesome’! Then there’s the mess in Houston, by far the biggest sports channel mess so far. Somehow, I think the Dodgers deal is going to be the mother of all screw-ups.

    • jrbdmb - Dec 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      With the amount of money TWC is asking for I’d think that percentage will be even higher. $5 – $8/mo for a channel that has no live sports programming (worth watching) from October through March?

  16. timewarnercablechannels - Dec 2, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Many younger people do not subscribe to any major cable or satellite companies and instead pay for exactly what they want to view over the internet via companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Prime.

  17. enigmatichill - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Probably by 2015, Time Warner Cable will not exist any longer, as there’s been rumors that Comcast, Cox, and Charter Cable are looking buying off pieces of TWC. Imagine if one of those three by up TWC, not only it’ll be one less competitor, but more than likely (okay, VERY likely) cable bills will definitely sky-rocket to a point where cord-cutting will becoming more rampart than before. Roku and streaming boxes will see an even significant increase in sales.

  18. robnran - Jan 12, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Couldn’t help but notice the similarities. Prices escalating, the majority paying for something they don’t want (let alone need), and an archaic institution bloating with power and money.

    We aren’t talking about Obamacare, right?

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