The proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Charter Communications will have at least one positive side effect for several Los Angeles area residents. Charter will "soon" begin carrying SportsNet LA, per Meg James of the Los Angeles Times:
"We are going to get the Dodgers on," Charter Communications Chief Executive Tom Rutledge said Tuesday morning in an interview with the L.A. Times.
"We want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen," Rutledge said.
James estimated that Charter could begin carrying the Dodgers network within a couple of weeks.
Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News added more:
TWC spokesman Andrew Fegyversei said: “Charter is committed to carrying SportsNet LA as soon as possible. We’re excited for Charter customers to enjoy the network’s games and in-depth programming.”
Charter spokesman Justin Venech added that the company “expects to launch the Dodgers network to its customers in L.A. in the coming weeks.”
Charter, which per the Times has roughly 300,000 subscribers in the Los Angeles area, announced Tuesday a $55.3 billion purchase of Time Warner, per the Associated Press, a deal valued as high as $79 million including assumed debt per USA Today.
While getting SportsNet LA on Charter now is a goodwill gesture by the company, there is no reason to think deals with other carriers — like DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon or Dish — will happen before the merger is approved by the FCC. A bid from Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable was rejected earlier this year, but the Charter deal is said to have an easier time getting approved, per USA Today:
In an investor note Monday, Mike McCormack, an analyst at Jefferies, wrote that Charter will have an easier time selling its merger proposal than Comcast given that the combined company would have a lower market share. That Charter doesn't own content providers also may work in its favor, he said. Comcast owns NBCUniversal and federal regulators worried that the nation's largest cable company may favor its subsidiary's content over NBC's competitors.
"We believe that this transaction will likely gain regulatory approval," McCormack said. "The combined company is still smaller than (Comcast) and there are no vertical integration issues.
Both Time Warner Cable and Charter say they expect to complete the deal by the end of 2015, which likely means no SportsNet LA for other carriers until next season at the earliest, but that was expected anyway.
For now, for Charter customers at least, there is some good news.