column by David Barron at chron.com.
If estimates valuing the deal at $3 billion over 20 years are reasonably correct, cable bills in LA are about to go up big-time. However, Time Warner in LA, like Comcast in Houston with its Rockets-Astros network launching in 2012, now must sell the new channel in a marketplace that has substantial numbers of households serviced by providers and about 620,000 households with no pay TV.
DirecTV has more than a million customers in LA, which, along with other providers and uncabled households, together account for more than half of the households in the LA market. Another remarkable element of the deal is that Time Warner is paying so much money for, given the Lakers’ popularity with the NBA’s national outlets, maybe 60 to 65 exclusive telecasts each year.
Fox Sports Net, meanwhile, isn’t going out of business, but is remarkable to consider the extent to which it is fading as a force in Top 10 markets.
It still has a full run of teams in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and, until the Lakers leave, Los Angeles. But in addition to team-owned outlets like NESN in Boston and YES in New York, Comcast is now a dominant Top 10 player with MLB/NBA/NHL deals in the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Houston soon to follow, plus the Mets in New York and the Celtics in New England.
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