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Report: Dodgers reach TV deal with Time Warner Cable

The Dodgers will reportedly develop their own regional sports network through Time Warner, to broadcast Dodgers games beginning in 2014.

Stephen Dunn

In case you were wondering just how the Dodgers planned to afford all of their recent spending, the club is said to have reached agreement with Time Warner to carry their games beginning in 2014. Alex Sherman and Scott Soshnick at Bloomberg News has more:

An announcement of the deal is imminent, said the people, who asked not to be named because the agreement isn’t yet public. The games will be carried on a new regional sports network developed by Guggenheim Partners, which owns the Dodgers. Time Warner Cable will be a partner and won’t own the television rights, the people said.

The value of the deal isn't yet known but is presumed to be worth at least $6 billion and possibly as much as $7 billion over 25 years, based on previous reports. Time Warner beat out Fox, the current carrier of roughly two-thirds of the Dodgers' games. The annual broadcast revenue likely won't be as simple as $240 million per year (if the value is $6 billion), as some of the value will likely be tied into the equity in the regional sports network.

But the Dodgers are getting $39 million from Fox for two-thirds of the games in 2013 in the final year of their deal, so the increase in annual revenue will be substantial with the new contract.

Also at issue for the Dodgers is their agreement through the bankruptcy court acquisition of the team that would allow the team to not share a bulk of their broadcast revenue. Major League Baseball understandably doesn't like that arrangement, but as Bill Shaikin noted in the Los Angeles Times noted last week both sides would prefer to resolve their differences rather than fight:

The Dodgers would prefer to resolve the matter with MLB rather than refer it to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which is empowered to settle any disputes as part of the settlement between the league and former owner Frank McCourt.

Presumably, the Dodgers taking on the risk of developing their own regional sports network would satisfy MLB's concern, though that remains to be seen. Shaikin estimates the difference in revenue sharing could save the Dodgers as much as $1 billion over the life of the television contract

The best part of the Dodgers getting their own network will simply be having an outlet for showing the countless hours of classic game footage and documentary-style retrospectives of heroes past. Get ready for Dodger Diaries: Dave Anderson!