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D'Antoni's hiring by Lakers unlikely to change DirecTV's mind

November 12, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • In this Feb. 22, 2012 photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni gestures in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in New York. D'Antoni has replaced Mike Brown as the new coach of the Lakers.
In this Feb. 22, 2012 photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)

Laker fans and team management probably weren't the only ones hoping Phil Jackson would agree to a deal to return as coach of the team.

Time Warner Cable, which is the new TV rights holder for the Lakers, also would have been thrilled if the "Zen Master" came back.

That's because hiring Jackson would have put more pressure on satellite broadcaster DirecTV to strike a deal to carry SportsNet, the new regional sports channel Time Warner started which is the TV home for the Lakers.

Many DirecTV subscribers are already upset about missing games. A Jackson return would have no doubt upped the volume of fans itching for DirecTV to settle its differences with Time Warner Cable. While former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni isn't chopped liver, he doesn't have the stature of Jackson.

DirecTV has made it clear that it thinks the price tag for SportsNet and its Spanish-language companion channel Deportes is too high. Time Warner Cable is seeking as much as $3.95 per-subscriber, per-month for its two channels. The longer the stalemate goes on, the more entrenched each side becomes, and D'Antoni's hire probably won't have DirecTV shaking in its boots.

Also still not signed on to carry SportsNet and Deportes is Dish Network. However, the frugal Dish was always seen as a long shot for Time Warner Cable. The other area distributors including Cox and Charter have struck long-term deals for SportsNet and Deportes.


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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.


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