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Talking with Time Warner About the New Lakers Channel Reviewed by Momizat on . When it was first announced that the Los Angeles Lakers would soon be changing broadcasting partners, many fans felt uneasy about the entire situation. After 35 When it was first announced that the Los Angeles Lakers would soon be changing broadcasting partners, many fans felt uneasy about the entire situation. After 35 Rating:
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Talking with Time Warner About the New Lakers Channel

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When it was first announced that the Los Angeles Lakers would soon be changing broadcasting partners, many fans felt uneasy about the entire situation. After 35 years of watching their beloved Lakers on KCAL and Fox Sports West, the future seemed uncertain. When the Lakers organization agreed to a lucrative contract with Time Warner Cable for exclusive broadcast rights, even more questions began to arise.

Now, for the first time a lot of those questions are able to be answered. While the Lakers are in the thick of a post-season run, Time Warner has announced their tentative plans for the future, and how they plan on making the entire Lakers experience an unforgettable one.

On Thursday morning, Time Warner distributed a press release that gave a basic blueprint of their intentions with the Lakers. They announced several key pieces of information involving the team and the way fans will view the games. First of all, there will be two networks: Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. Each will be a one-stop-shop, either in English or Spanish, for everything involving the Lakers, Sparks and Los Angeles Galaxy.

However, there were still plenty of unanswered questions that fans were pondering. The uncertainty that change inevitably brings isn’t always easy to understand. In order to answer some of these other questions, I was fortunate enough to speak to David Rone, president of sports at Time Warner Cable.

Obviously, the main concern the fans have had going into next season is the question of whether or not they will have access to Time Warner SportsNet if they aren’t Time Warner Cable subscribers. The prospect of losing the ability to watch Laker games due simply to which cable provider you’re subscribed to is a remarkably disheartening possibility. But don’t fret, Rone says it won’t be an issue.

“It should not be a concern. My job is to sell these networks to every type of distributor. For the first time ever, Lakers fans will be able to get all their games in one place. They won’t have to to go to two different destinations. All local games are now going to be seen on our two networks, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Deportes.”

Since this quickly debunks the myth that you must be subscribed to Time Warner Cable in order to receive these new networks, fans should also make a point to talk to their current cable providers and inform them that Time Warner Cable SportsNet is a crucial package that they will soon want access to.

Still, while the team is shifting to a new network, that doesn’t mean that things are going to be different from what fans have been used to in the past. There’s no doubt the Lakers are one of the most popular sports franchises in the country, and they have built a strong reputation with their fans through their broadcasts. According to Rone, that’s something that Time Warner will look to build on, and use as a launching pad to transition them into the future.

“We’re expecting a very smooth transition. We have the absolute cooperation, enthusiasm and optimism from the Lakers about helping that transition be as smooth as possible. A lot of what Laker fans have come to know, love and really expect in a Laker broadcast they will continue to be able to feel and experience as those games come to Time Warner.”

One area that will remain the same is the voices you hear during the broadcasts. Time Warner announced that they would be bringing back Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald, who handled play-by-play duties this season for KCAL and Fox Sports West. Since one of the main goals for Time Warner is to make this as seamless a transition as possible, bringing back Lantz and Macdonald was, as Rone put it, paramount.

“All things related to Laker games we do with the Lakers. We speak to the organization daily. They’re very comfortable with the presentation of Lakers talent. It is of paramount importance to keep that as consistent as possible. We are all very excited to have Stu and Bill on our team.”


So while the experience of a Lakers game may not be that much different from what fans are accustomed to already, everything surrounding those games is going to get a major overhaul. As a part of the new network, Time Warner is focusing on providing fans with hours of content that revolve around the team they love.

Due to the fact that there are only 82 games in an NBA season, not including the playoffs of course, there are countless hours where fans will be seeking their Lakers fix without any game action to turn to. This is something that Time Warner is committed to improving, and are looking to add plenty of Laker-related programing that isn’t necessarily live, in-game action.

“In today’s world Laker fans get a pre-game show, games and a post-game show. And that’s really it. We’re now going to be presenting Laker fans, on a daily basis throughout the NBA season, blocks of original programing – Laker-centric programing.”

This should come as a treat for fans that simply can’t get enough of their beloved Lakers. While many of the programming decisions have yet to be made, fans can take comfort in the fact that they will have a channel devoted to providing them with Laker programming on a near round-the-clock basis, which is something that until now was simply not the case.

Another aspect of Time Warner Cable SportsNet that fans previously didn’t have access to, is the inclusion of a nightly, hour-long program that will update fans on all things surrounding the Lakers, as well as a look at all the other NBA action on that specific date. The show, which still is yet to be named, will be Laker-centric, and will take place nightly during the NBA season.

Rone was also very excited about the prospect of offering fans the ability to watch the Lakers online, streaming over the internet. As the demand for streaming content continues to increase, Time Warner Cable SportsNet is looking to establish a relationship with its viewers that allows them to watch all SportsNet programming live and online.

“Its our intention to be one of the first fully authenticated regional sports networks in the country. to present to customers that are subscriber to Time Warner Cable SportsNet that they be able to get those networks online and by way of their tablet or mobile device.”

This is a rather unprecedented news for a sports network to make. While games are offered online through services like NBA League Pass, very few networks offer fans the chance to stream their games, as well as non-game programming, live online. Through Time Warner Cable SportsNet, subscribers will have the chance to watch SportsNet programing online through their various devices.

Unfortunately for out-of-market fans, however, that luxury doesn’t extend beyond the Los Angeles market.

“They would be able to get that throughout L.A.,” Rone said. “You won’t be able to watch a streaming game if you reside in Los Angeles and you take your tablet with you to say, Ohio.”

Regardless, this is an exciting opportunity that previously was unavailable to Lakers fans. Time Warner is looking to improve the overall Laker experience that fans in Southern California have grown accustomed to. While there are many things that have worked great in the past, Time Warner Cable SportsNet is looking to build on these things and give Los Angeles Lakers followers an unparalleled fan experience.

Part of this experience will be through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets as well. Since the Lakers have one of the biggest social media followings of any professional sports franchise in the world, Time Warner is anxious to allow the fans the opportunity to connect with the team they love through these different platforms.

“We hope to use social media not only in marketing, but in interacting with fans as well. Hopefully you’ll see things like social media opportunities, conversations, and activities taking place in the ticker during Laker broadcasts. We want to continue to create the most immerse Laker fan experience possible.”

There’s no question that exciting things are on the horizon for the Lakers and their fans. With Time Warner set to take over at season’s end, the possibilities seem nearly endless. While there are still some stones that remain unturned for the time being, the knowledge that fans will have more access to the Lakers than ever before is certainly an encouraging sign.

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About The Author

Daniel is the former Editor-in-Chief of LakersNation. He has also written for SLAM, ESPN and other various publications. Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielbuergeLA

Number of Entries : 1606
  • Kenna

    I’m confused.  We have Dish, and TWC isn’t available where we live.  How is this going to happen again?  What does he mean when he says, ”
    It should not be a concern. My job is to sell these networks to every type of distributor”?  

    • Chris

      Kenna,

      I think nothing is set in stone yet but they plan to sell the channel to every distributor…meaning that it should be available no matter what provider you have. This is a HUGE television deal and the Lakers do big numbers so I think it will be an easy sell. Time Warner will make the most money from this deal by having the widest syndication possible which includes selling the channel to other cable/satellite providers. I’m confident that the availability of games on TV will increase, not decrease.

      • Kenna

        Oh, such relief!!  I don’t know what I’d do without my Laker Games.  I think we may have had to move :-)

      • Kmac_321

         Ya it’s been 4 months now and there is still no word of Laker games appearing no Verizon Fios programming… any new updates of this manner?

    • Sjasonii

      He’s saying that TWC is going to sell their Lakers package to all of the different cable and satellite providers. Therefore we all can have it.

  • http://twitter.com/Lostnlove817 Lily Avalos

    I wonder how much extra this Time Warner SportsNet will cost….

    • Vetoxbox

      That’s what I want to know…

  • Laura

    So you have to pay for cable if you want to watch Laker away games? What about those of us that don’t care to pay for cable TV? Or those Laker fans who can’t afford cable? Can you address these questions

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Kissick/1407396021 Daniel Kissick

    whats this mean for laker fanes that have direct tv how can they watch laker games now
    comment back asap

    • Jzoom45

      my guess is you will probably have to pay an extra 5 to 10 bucks for a lakers package.

  • Joey

    What channel number will I find these new networks on? I hope that they put the standard definition feed on TWC’s analog expanded basic tier (in areas of TWC’s footprint where such a tier is still available) for the benefit of fans who don’t have/want a box.

  • Naterichmond7

     The Lakers have an awesome squad and I hope that Dish
    would gain this channel soon. Even though Time Warner’s going to get this
    channel its still not enough for me to subscribe to their high service. I have
    more options for programming packages with Dish and for a cheaper rate. A Dish
    co-worker gave me HD free for life and I have the best quality HD picture possible.
    Dish has more HD channels than any other TV provider out, plus they give me an
    awesome way to watch TV on the go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kathryn-Matheny/1345134650 Kathryn Matheny

    Lake Fans are global ! I moved and until I move back I can’t see this channel at all or my team this sucks !

  • Salazar0047

    are directv ppl going to have the lakers games or not ???? any one …

  • Rex c

    Direct tv denies that they know anything about the lakers changing networks. Dtv is still saying you can get the lakers on fsw and kcal. I told them this is not true. So dtv customers may be out of luck. I told DTV that they stand to loose over a million customers. The again denied knowing anything about it and tried to sell me FSW.

  • Leocervantes31

    I got Dish and I won’t be able to see Laker games? WTF!!!

  • Pissed Laker Fan

    “There’s no question that exciting things are on the horizon for the Lakers and their fans.”  DANIEL BUERGE IS A MORON!!!  I’m sure there are lots of “EXCITED” Laker fans like me wondering if we will even get to see the majority of the Laker games this season cause we don’t have Time Warner. I can’t stand Time Warner and even if my carrier, Directv, does make this channel available then how much is it going to cost. So Fing pissed right now! Jerry Buss can suck my @ss!

  • Raidernationcali

    stu lantz sucks! if we have directv does that mean we gota pay extra for that channel even if i live in the same market?

  • http://www.facebook.com/caesar.hernandez1 Caesar Hernandez

    My area doesn’t carry TWC so I hope they will have it on direct tv

  • Kaiguz26

    I have dtv and they better have it …. They say they’re the best broadcasting for sports fan now PROVE IT !! Or I will have to change

  • Kobebean64

    Thug Life. Just ordered Time Warner Cable just for the sake of my lakes. 

  • Kmac_321

    WELL EVERYONE IT LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE TO ORDER IT….YOU KNOW WHAT…THE VERY EXPENSIVE….NBA LEAGUE PASS…..   =(

  • mando007

    this BUSS / TIME WARNER deal really sucks! we have enjoy lakers for 35 yrs for free……and now because of this stupid greedy deal between mutimillionairs  alll lakers fans have to be force to buy cable to watch our own team!!!!! that is not fair…….. BASKETBALL is all ready a very expensive sport trust me when I say this, you will loose a lot of fans this way……………………………

  • Otherotherone24

    Make it available to Laker fans all over the world we are the ones that help sky rocket sales… Also help the people with direct TV figure that out, and quite displaying horrible customer service…

  • Nuttingood

    DTV NBA package will be blacked out in So Cal

  • Ascomstock

    I have DirecTV and I am NOT going back to Time Warner cause they totally suck!! That’s why I switched!!  This is ridiculous.  What were the Lakers thinking?!?!?  I want my Lakers.  I don’t care about a Laker channel.  That is stupid!!!

  • Alegendscreation

    Directv is charging 6 payments of 29.95 for the NBA package!!!! #BOO guess I won’t be watching any lake show games at home!! The world has turnt sooo greedy smh!

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