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Dodgers meet with Time Warner Cable

December 07, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • The Dodgers are talking with Fox Sports and Time Warner Cable. Pictured, pitcher Joe Blanton.
The Dodgers are talking with Fox Sports and Time Warner Cable. Pictured,… (Associated Press )

It looks like the Dodgers are checking out another pitcher.

After negotiating exclusively with Fox Sports on a new TV deal to keep the team on its Prime Ticket network, the Dodgers have taken a meeting with Time Warner Cable, which wants the team on its SportsNet and Deportes channels. The news was first reported Thursday night by Los Angeles Times Dodger beat writer Bill Shaikin.

Fox Sports is still seen as the likely favorite to land the team. Not only does it already have a long relationship with the Dodgers, it is offering more than $6 billion for a 25-year deal. Fox Sports' current contract is up at the end of next season and will cost about $40 million. That would more than double in 2014 under the contract being discussed.

But Time Warner Cable, which shelled out more than $3 billion to snag the Lakers away from Fox Sports, also has a big bank account for sports rights. The Dodgers are at least curious to hear what Time Warner Cable has to say.

Fox Sports had an exclusive window with the Dodgers, but that expired at the end of November. Now it up to the Dodgers to make an offer to Fox by today (Friday). Fox Sports then has a month to make up its mind.

If the Dodgers go with Fox Sports, a stake in Prime Ticket is likely to be part of the agreement. That may not be something Time Warner Cable can provide since the Lakers do not have an ownership stake in SportsNet. If the Dodgers did go with Time Warner Cable and receive a piece of the channel, the Lakers may want a stake as well.

The Dodgers could also decide to launch their own regional sports network.

News Corp.'s Fox Sports and Time Warner Cable's sports turf war is not limited to Los Angeles. In New York, Fox Sports bought a big stake in the Yes Network, the regional sports channel owned by the Yankees. In Cleveland, Fox is expected to buy a network owned by the Indians baseball team.

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