|Dodgers chairman Mark Walter (left) and CEO Stan Kasten (right). (US Presswire)|
The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable officially announced their landmark television contract on Monday. The deal is believed to be worth upwards of $7 billion over 25 years, and a new network called SportsNet LA will launch following the 2013 season.
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"We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want -- more content and more Dodger baseball -- was to launch our own network," said Dodgers chairman Mark Walter in a statement released by the organization.
“The launch of the new regional sports network is a historic development for the Dodgers and our passionate fans,” said Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten in a statement. “Our commitment from day one has been to build the Dodgers into the best team possible, both on and off the field. Our fans deserve the best -- the best players, the best baseball, and the best experience -- whether that's at the newly renovated Dodger Stadium or on television.”
“Our mission is to have the most fan-friendly sports programming, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from our Dodger Community," added Kasten. "We look forward to sharing updates with fans in the coming months. In the meantime, we remain very excited about the upcoming 2013 season where we will be showcasing our incredible new roster and the many enhancements to Dodger Stadium, as well as continuing our commitment to broadcast excellence with our current partners Fox Sports and KCAL 9.”
The title SportsNet LA leads me to believe the network will carry more than just Dodgers-related programming, but the network will be controlled by the team and not Time Warner. The Dodgers will remain on Fox Sports this coming season as part of their existing agreement. The deal with Time Warner does not include a separate Spanish-language channel.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes the team does not yet have MLB's approval for the new deal due to pending revenue-sharing issues. That does not involve Time Warner and is unlikely to derail the deal. Last week we heard the Dodgers were interested in keeping Fox around in a lesser role.
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