The LA sports scene free fall continues. If Lakers management thought the blown Achilles
tendon of their crown jewel Kobe Bryant was cringe inducing wait till they get a peek of the class action lawsuit directed at them and Time Warner Cable.The suit, in direct response to Time Warner’s acquiring of Lakers and Dodgers Television rights, contends the cost of the television rights are on the backs of non Laker’s and Dodger’s Fans.
In 2011 2012 Time Warner cable acquired the television rights to both the Lakers and Dodgers for an eyebrow raising 11 billion dollars. The 11 billion premium would grant Time Warner Cable, local television broadcast exclusivity for the next 20 years for both teams. The television broadcast company managed this exclusivity by creating two regional sports channels that would air the non Nationally televised games. In order to fund this 11 billion price tag Time Warner will package these channels with the basic cable lineup and drive up peoples cable premiums 4 to 5 additional dollars a month without the ability to opt out. The four plaintiffs, who are as diverse as the four cable providers they subscribe to, assert that the majority of the beneficiaries of these cable television price hike are not even Lakers nor Dodger fans. They cite studies stating, “this hike is extracted from 60 percent of the population who are individuals who do not want and do not watch and do not want to pay for Lakers and Dodgers telecasts and who, if given the option to do so, would opt out of such telecasts”; a statistic that is definitely a bitter pill to swallow for these time honored organizations.
The plaintiffs believe the two sports franchises improprieties center around their apathetic stance towards these hikes. They feel the organization were well aware these lofty television contracts would cause a hike for cable subscribers who majority are non fans.
Cable providers compulsory packaging of channels displeasure lately has been receiving extra scrutiny. In addition to this class action lawsuit Arizona Senator John McCain has recently sponsored legislation that would allow cable consumers to tailor fit their bills to the channels of their choosing. This Time Warner lawsuit could potentially lend this legislation a head of steam to the dismay of sports franchises. In the mean time the two teams have 11 billion reasons to sleep well at night.