Red Hot L.A. Kings Get New Broadcast Deal From Fox Sports

LA Kings NHL Playoffs - H 2012
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LA Kings NHL Playoffs - H 2012

The new contract raises cable rights fees from $12 million to $21 million a year; and separately sources confirm Fox Sports has opened preliminary talks with the new Dodgers owners.

The Los Angeles Kings have been on fire throughout the playoffs, and a sold-out crowd will pack Staples Center on Monday for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series two games to none.

Now the Kings' hot streak has extended to broadcasting, as Fox Sports West has redone the team's cable TV deal (which ran through 2015), raising the annual rights fee from about $12 million per year to about $21 million.

Fox Sports West officially announced the new deal Monday but declined to provide any figures. However, other sources confirmed the amount, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.  

Separately, a source confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Fox Sports has opened preliminary discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers' new owners on renewing its contract to carry the baseball team's games beyond the 2013 season.

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Under the agreement with the AEG-owned Kings, which the announcement says “extends well into the next decade,” Fox Sports West will carry about 75 regular-season games a year and some early playoff games.

Fox Sports West has carried the Kings since 1985, with announcer Bob Miller, who has been the voice of the Kings for 39 seasons. Miller and analyst Jim Fox, who has been on board for 23 years after a nine-season playing career with the Kings, will continue under the new contract.

Fox Sports also is continuing the half-hour postgame show Kings Live from Staples Center that also features reporter Patrick O’Neal. There is also a postgame show after each Stanley Cup game.  
The Stanley Cup Final games are being aired on NBC or the NBC Sports Network.

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"Los Angeles is truly experiencing a historic period for our franchise,” said Luc Robitaille, the Kings' president of business operations and a Hall of Fame player who spent many seasons in Los Angeles. “And this new agreement will provide us with multiple opportunities and platforms to showcase our team and its talented group of players for many years to come."
Said Jeff Krolik, executive vp of Fox Sports Networks: “We’re pleased that the Kings will be a part of the Fox Sports family for a long time. Their amazing playoff run has energized this town, and we couldn’t be more proud to be partners with them.”
Added Steve Simpson, senior vp and GM of Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket: “We’re excited that Fox Sports West will remain the Kings’ local TV home. We want to thank [AEG president] Tim Leiweke, Luc Robitaille and the entire Kings organization for their efforts in making this deal happen.”

That puts the Kings in the upper echelon of pro hockey teams in terms of rights fees, which range as high as $25 million and as low as about $10 million, according to sources.

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The current success also is the culmination of efforts by the owners to rebuild the franchise. Philip Anschutz, whose company owns Staples Center and other venues, and Edward Roski bought the Kings in 1995 out of bankruptcy.

This contract comes at a time Fox Sports is facing increased competition on several fronts. Time Warner Cable recently launched two new channels (one in English, one in Spanish) that will serve as the new long-term home of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.

In San Diego, Fox Sports remains in a standoff with Time Warner Cable over terms of an agreement that would put the San Diego Padres baseball games. The games are on DirecTV and Cox cable, which is the largest cable provider in the area.