Time Warner Cable Also Talking to Dodgers About TV Deal

Wesley Mann

Source confirms talks as team is expected to make a final proposal on Fox Sports' $6 billion, 25-year contract to broadcast its games.

Time Warner Cable has joined the discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers about the television rights that become available after the 2013 season, according to a source.

The talks with TWC this week, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, come as Fox Sports continues its negotiations on a complicated 25-year, $6 billion-plus deal.

Under terms of the current contract, the Dodgers are expected to make a final proposal to Fox's take-it-or-leave-it offer as early as Friday. Fox then has 30 days to respond.

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Fox’s exclusive negotiating period with the Dodgers on Nov. 30, but talks have continued over what is described by insiders as a very complex deal. It includes not only a record amount of money for regional sports rights but also the possibility of the Dodgers and their new owners getting an equity stake in an existing or new cable TV channel. Fox’s Prime Ticket reportedly is the channel being discussed.

TWC launched two sports channels in October, one in English and one in Spanish, that now exclusively carry the L.A. Lakers telecasts. However, under that $3 billion deal, the Lakers have no ownership stake in the channels -- and with that precedent, it would be difficult for TWC to offer that kind of money, as well as equity, to the Dodgers.

Of course, TWC could launch another channel dedicated to the Dodgers. Or the team could choose to launch its own channel and then license the rights to Fox, TWC or another TV distributor such as NBC, ESPN or CBS.

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A spokesperson for Time Warner Cable said the company had no comment. A spokesperson for Guggenheim Partners, which paid most of the $2.15 billion the team sold for this year, had no comment Thursday and did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

A spokesman for Fox Sports on Thursday said the company had nothing to say and Friday did not respond to a request for comment on TWC joining the discussions.

The Hollywood Reporter’s parent company, Prometheus Global Media, also is majority owned by Guggenheim.

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