Dodgers Channel Close To Being A Reality

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Time-Warner Cable are expected to announce a deal that would give the team its own channel. The cable giant would handle distribution and operations. The Dodgers channel would pay the team roughly $7 billion over at least 20 years.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In recent years, regional cable TV sports networks have been a financial windfall for pro sports and college teams. And now it seems to be the turn of the Los Angeles Dodgers to make a record haul here.

There are reports the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable are close to announcing a deal for a Dodgers channel that would pay the team around $7 billion over at least 20 years.

But NPR's Tom Goldman reports it may be one windfall too many in a crowded Los Angeles market.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: There were gasps and some snickering last year, when a new ownership group, including Magic Johnson, paid $2.15 billion for the Dodgers - a team whose once storied image had been pummeled by mismanagement. Now, the reported $7 to $8 billion agreement with Time Warner Cable, not only would silence critics of last year's sale...

MARC GANIS: It would rank as the largest deal for local broadcast rights in baseball.

GOLDMAN: Marc Ganis runs the sports business consultant company, Sportscorp Limited. He says Major League Baseball has to sign off before the whopper deal is a reality.

As good as this seems for a Dodgers team that filed for bankruptcy in 2011, Ganis says there are danger signs. A Time Warner Cable Dodgers Channel would be the sixth regional sports network in Los Angeles.

Despite the public's voracious appetite for sports programming, says Ganis, six RSN's aren't sustainable in the long-term...

GANIS: There is a finite number there - and really it's, the issue isn't as much those people who want to watch the games, the issue is more that other half of the population who doesn't want to watch the games and doesn't want to pay for them.

GOLDMAN: The L.A. Times reports it'll cost around $5 a month to subscribe to the new Dodgers Channel. It's a pretty steep ask, says the times. But Time Warner Cable is banking on Angelinos answering because of their love of Dodger blue.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

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