After I recently wrote an article explaining the details of the Los Angeles Lakers’ deal with Time Warner Cable and what is going to happen with other pay-TV providers, I got many responses as to what people will do in order to watch the games.
As of right now, TWC is the only provider that will carry its new channel, SportsNet; as other companies are still negotiating with them for rights to the channel.
Many of the replies I got simply said they would have no problem streaming Lakers games (illegally, of course) over the internet, and would lose no sleep over it. For me, that’s not an option as I have a 60″ TV that I refuse to watch anything–let alone my favorite sports team–not formatted in high definition.
Not to mention my friends and I often host “Laker parties” that involve drinking games and other fun activities (the official Lakers Nation drinking game will be up before the start of the regular season) that just wouldn’t be the same without the Lakers on the big screen.
This brings me to my next topic: Restaurants and bars.
When the Lakers were ousted from the 2011 playoffs in the second round, there was a report that local businesses would lose up to $70 million in revenues as a result of losing a possible total of just 14 games! Obviously, those would have been highly anticipated playoff games, and many of those businesses would have been merchandisers and not just restaurants or bars.
However, there is no question that not having access to Lakers games will hurt any type of food/beverage service in California that usually has sports on their televisions.
Obviously, some of these establishments may have Time Warner Cable, but many of them have satellite TV. Similarly, there are many areas in which TWC is not available. For instance, Barney’s Beanery–a sports bar in Pasadena, among other places–has some form of satellite TV and does not have access to TWC.
This will have a positive-negative effect on many businesses as fans who are in the same predicament as I am (having Charter Communications but living in an area that TWC does not have coverage) will seek out restaurants and/or bars that do have TWC, and the ones that don’t will be dried out during Lakers games.
Basically, under the current situation, if you’re a restaurant or bar owner that has TWC, you can be sure your business will be packed at least three to four times a week, but if your business doesn’t or can’t get TWC, you might expect quite a hit financially.
That is why there must be an urgency among TWC and other providers to get deals done as soon as possible.
Many pay-TV providers think the $4 per month, per household price that TWC wants to charge may be too high; since in order to make money those secondary providers would likely have to charge their users a fee on top of that as well–which could discourage consumers.
Additionally, with the growing consensus that plenty of fans are already willing to stream the games illegally, perhaps the various sides can reach a “flat rate” type of deal for the rights to SportsNet.
At the very least, they must come together in support of local businesses which will surely lose millions in revenue if they don’t.
Note: For more information on acquiring TWC’s SportNet or whether your current provider will be carrying the channel, go to iwantmylakers.com. You can also send a request to your current provider through the site as well.