The Los Angeles Lakers and Time Warner Cable have reached a deal to launch two regional sports T.V. networks that will carry all locally available Lakers games. The Lakers and Time Warner announced the deal Monday afternoon. The networks, one of which will become the nation's first Spanish-language regional sports network, will launch in time for the 2012-13 season. Local Lakers games are currently broadcast on FoxSports West and KCAL-TV.
Upwards of 20 regular season Lakers games are broadcast nationally each season, some of which won't be simulcast locally by the new networks.
The deal is for 20 years, and will certainly send shockwaves through the L.A. cable market. On a national level, it remains to be seen whether the NBA will institute a deeper revenue sharing program that spreads the wealth for local T.V. deals like this one to teams in markets that wouldn't support such a serious investment. In other words, the Lakers are going to make a ton of money on this deal. Will teams like the Kings, Thunder and Hornets ever get a piece of the pie?
Revenue sharing on deals like this Lakers TV agreement is a sticking point in ongoing collective bargaining between the league's franchise owners and its union. The union wants revenue sharing on the table, while franchisees have argued that they will work it out among themselves.