& cplSiteName &

Ticket Price Shock for New Dodgers Network

Mari Silbey

Sports networks are expensive. However, SportsNet LA, the new regional sports network offering around-the-clock coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is more so than most.

USA Today reports that SportsNet LA is asking between $4.50 and $5 per subscriber per month from pay-TV providers that want to carry its content. So far, only Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has added the station to its line-up, which is not surprising because the cable company is already subsidizing the network to the tune of $8.35 billion shelled out to the Dodgers over the next 25 years.

TWC has an estimated 2 million customers in Los Angeles, representing about 45% of the TV market. DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s FiOS, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s U-Verse are among the providers that have balked at paying the price that SportsNet LA is pitching.

Cable companies repeatedly cite sports programming juggernaut ESPN as providing the most valuable content in their bundles for customer retention and acquisition. The results of an operator survey released this week by Beta Networks Corp. listed ESPN as the No. 1 network for perceived value among pay-TV providers for the 14th year in a row. Yet even ESPN charges no more than an estimated $5.40 per subscriber per month, and the network's sports coverage is far more extensive than a single team.

ESPN is also the most expensive content provider to date in cable bundles, although content rights fees are rising in other areas as well. CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) CEO Les Moonves has said he expects his company to generate $1 billion from retransmission and affiliate fees by 2017. (See CBS Financials Fuel Aereo Angst)

The price of programming is one big reason why the cable industry is consolidating. Service providers are hoping to wield more power in content negotiations by increasing their distribution footprints. Regional sports networks present a unique challenge, however, because their greatest viewing interest is contained in a very small geographic area.

The question is: How long will pay-TV providers be able to hold out against networks like SportNet LA in the face of fan demand? The answer may be a lot clearer come opening day of the baseball season at the end of March.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2014 | 3:31:03 PM
Re: Overpriced?
This issue will come to a head in April. The Dodgers are a popular brand in LA, especially for content in the summer. The $8.35 billion TWC has paid out to the Dodgers network is proof of that. 

Live sports is one of the last mediums of content that broadcast and cable can count on. Netflix is not streaming baseball games yet. 
User Rank: Blogger
2/28/2014 | 4:44:23 PM
Re: Overpriced?
You mean the Dodgers can command higher prices than, say, the KC Royals? Well, yeah, i guess so. But can they command a higher price than the Yankees in New York or the red Sox in Boston? I'm not so sure abut that. As for that loyal Dodgers fan base, don't they all still leave Chevez Ravine in the 7th inning to avoid the traffic going home?e  
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2014 | 4:47:01 PM
Re: Overpriced?
Not that this legitimizes the asking price in any way, but the Dodgers will field one of the best teams in baseball this year, and have one of the largest, most rabid regional fan bases every year. If they're going to ask for a big fee, now is the time to do it.

Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/27/2014 | 3:46:45 PM
Something having to do with professional sports is overpriced? I'm shocked, shocked I say!
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 9, 1:00PM EST
MANO 101
Friday, November 11, 1:00PM EST
Open Source for NFV MANO
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
OneAccess NFV Solutions

10|26|16   |   5:30   |   (0) comments

Antoine Clerget, CTO of OneAccess, discusses how his company has expanded its product line from enterprise-class routers to include a universal virtualized CPE as well as a suite of VNFs to help telco customers evolve to an NFV future.
LRTV Custom TV
The Journey Toward Carrier-Grade WiFi

10|26|16   |   3:39   |   (0) comments

In this Light Reading interview, Dave Sperling, CTO at Smith Micro Software and active participant of the WBA's policy working group, discusses the need for carrier-grade WiFi. Technical and business challenges slowing the fulfillment of this goal are addressed, as well as management strategies that will enable communication service providers to optimize end user ...
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE BBWF Highlights

10|26|16   |     |   (0) comments

At BBWF 2016, ZTE showed a broad range of innovative technologies that are kick-starting an ultrafast broadband journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
Google Fiber Hits Pause Button, Scales Back
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/26/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.