The Los Angeles Lakers will play their fifth game of the 2012-13 season tonight in Salt Lake City, but many people in Southern California will not be able to watch the match.
Time Warner Cable’s sports network, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, is a channel dedicated to Lakers coverage, but is not available to those who have DirecTV. SportsNet has already stricken deals with Verizon Fios, Charter Communications and AT&T U-Verse, but DirecTV and Dish Networks customers are still without the Lakers channel.
DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White spoke on behalf of the company about it third quarter results and he touched upon rising costs of sports channels.
“Everybody wants a new channel and they want to stick it into the bundle and it’s not right,” White told analysts.
“I think we’re going to continue to see very, very tough discussions by all distributors with content providers, to try and mitigate these outrageous cost increases that are unaffordable to the average customer,” White said.
The Los Angeles Times writes that the comments were likely directed towards Time Warner Cable, which wants its new SportsNet to be included in television distributors’ most popular programming packages.
DirecTV has asked Time Warner Cable if its Lakers channel could be placed a special programming package that would be offered to those that want it. This would be unprecedented, however, as no other regional sports network in the country is delegated to higher pricing tiers.
A sports package which includes the Lakers channel seems like a fair compromise, but Time Warner Cable is not looking for a deal that would cost their viewers rather than the cable companies. Both parties have very different views and it may be a long time until DirecTV and Time Warner Cable make a deal.