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Galaxy to switch TV broadcasts to Time Warner Cable

SOCCER

The team, which is jumping from Fox Sports West, reaches an agreement on a 10-year deal valued at $55 million for an undetermined number of games starting in 2012.

November 15, 2011|By Kevin Baxter and Joe Flint
  • The Galaxy's new television deal will give the team a financial boost.
The Galaxy's new television deal will give the team a financial boost. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

The Galaxy has reached a broadcast agreement to jump from Fox Sports West to Time Warner Cable's fledgling regional sports channels — one in English, one in Spanish — beginning in 2012.

The 10-year deal is valued at $55 million for an undetermined number of games, an official close to the talks confirmed. Time Warner Cable, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment Tuesday as did the Galaxy.

The value of the regional contract, $5.1 million per season, dwarfs the three-year $30-million national deal between Major League Soccer and NBC and will provide a welcome financial boost for the Galaxy. The team has said it will lose money this season despite advancing to Sunday's championship game with the league's best record.

Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, the entertainment group that owns the Galaxy and hockey's Kings, hinted last week that a lucrative TV deal was coming and credited that to midfielder David Beckham, who might be making his last appearance for the Galaxy on Sunday.

"It's a major deal for our team and I'm telling you it never happens without David Beckham," Leiweke said.

Although the Galaxy has been the league's marquee franchise since signing Beckham before the 2007 season, it has not been a ratings winner for FSW, never drawing more than 16,000 homes, a .28 rating. In the last few years, ratings have dropping as low as .11%.

Fox, which has been paying less than $500,000 a season for the Galaxy's broadcast rights, carried 19 games this year.

Of greater consequence is that the Galaxy is the second pro team to jump to Time Warner Cable, following the Lakers, who in February signed a 20-year broadcast deal valued at $3 billion. The Lakers, who have been on FSW, will move to Time Warner Cable's stations beginning with the 2012-13 season.

Time Warner Cable is also expected to pursue the Dodgers. The team's current contract with Fox forbids them from talking to any other broadcast outlet until Nov. 30, 2012, but outgoing owner Frank McCourt has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to let the Dodgers solicit bids now from Time Warner Cable and any other interested parties.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

joe.flint@latimes.com

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