The battle for television rights to carry Los Angeles Dodgers games reportedly has been won by Time Warner Cable. The Dodgers had been in discussions with Fox and TWC for months and according to Bloomberg, Time Warner Cable Inc. has struck a deal with the Dodgers to broadcast the Major League Baseball team’s games. The games will be carried on a new regional sports network developed by Guggenheim Partners, who purchased purchased the team last year for for $2.15 billion from Frank McCourt, who put the team into bankruptcy in June.
Currently, Dodger games can be seen on News Corp.’s Prime Ticket channel, however that deal expires at the end of the 2013 baseball season. Fox lost their exclusive negotiating rights with the Dodgers five weeks ago and Time Warner entered into discussions with the team as well. An official announcement of the deal is reportedly imminent, although no deal has been signed.
The Los Angeles Times had reported that the Dodgers were leaning toward moving their television broadcast from Fox sports to Time Warner Cable. The deal will be the most lucrative local television contract in baseball history, perhaps worth close to $7 billion. The team had discussed a new deal with Fox last fall, worth at least $6 billion over 25 years. Fox Sports has been carrying the Dodgers since 1997 on their local Prime Ticket channel.
“From a Dodgers standpoint, this puts them at the same rank as the Yankees, Red Sox and Giants,” Lee Berke, head of a sports-focused media consulting firm said. “Valuation is the name of the game. That’s what Guggenheim is going to achieve by developing a Dodgers network with Time Warner.