US pay-television operator Charter Communications has committed to carrying regional pay-television channel SportsNet LA following the announcement of its deal to acquire fellow cable operator Time Warner Cable.
Charter yesterday (Tuesday) announced its $56.7bn (€49.96bn) takeover of TWC, which has hitherto been the only major distributor in Southern California to carry SportsNet LA since it launched at the start of the 2014 baseball season.
SportsNet LA launched in February 2014 as part of MLB franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers’ exclusive local rights deal with TWC. Time Warner Cable holds a 25-year deal, from 2014 to 2038, for the Dodgers’ media rights in an agreement worth $8.35bn.
However, TWC has been engaged in a dispute with other operators over distribution of SportsNet LA meaning that the channel’s reach has been restricted.
“We are going to get the Dodgers on,” Charter Communications chief executive Tom Rutledge told the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “We want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen.”
Rutledge added that Charter customers in Glendale, Burbank, Malibu, Long Beach and other regions will have SportsNet LA within a few weeks. He said that his company will have to take a hard look at the channel’s finances and its contract, with TWC having been hit by sizeable losses on its investment.