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Pac-12 Networks adds to glut of cable sports channels in L.A.

August 14, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is now in the TV business.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is now in the TV business. (Associated Press )

Starting Wednesday, Los Angeles customers of Time Warner Cable will notice a new addition to their channel lineup --Pac-12 Networks.

And some time after the channels have launched those same customers will likely notice that their bill went up.

Pac-12 Networks is the Pac-12 Conference's sports service. In Los Angeles, there is one channel devoted to USC and UCLA (Pac-12 Los Angeles) and another channel that focuses on the entire conference (Pac-12). So far, only Time Warner Cable has a deal to carry the services. Satellite broadcasters Dish and DirecTV have not signed on yet nor has AT&T's U-Verse or Verizon Fios.

Sports Business Journal has reported that the Pac-12 is seeking more than 80 cents per subscriber to carry its channels. That's more than CNN, USA and FX and about the same as Disney Channel, according to SNL Kagan, an industry consulting firm.

For USC and UCLA fans, the channels are great news. But for the rest of the region, it's just more sports programming driving up costs. Los Angeles already has Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West. Starting tomorrow the Pac-12 will have two channels -- one (Pac-12 Los Angeles) that all consumers will be forced to buy and another (Pac-12) that will be on a specialty tier of sports channels.

In the fall, Time Warner Cable launches its two sports channels -- one in English and one in Spanish. Time Warner Cable secured the rights to the Lakers and the Galaxy and is hoping to snag the Dodgers as well. The price tag is just under $4 per subscriber and Time Warner Cable wants the channels distributed to everyone as opposed to putting them in a package for sports fans.

This means that in just a few months, Los Angeles will go from having two regional sports networks to five. If the Dodgers decide to start their own, then there would be six. Funny to think that a city that doesn't even have an NFL team could end up with half a dozen sports channels.

ALSO:

Pac-12 Networks launching Wednesday

Time Warner Cable stepping up its game

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