The Los Angeles Lakers' new T.V. rights deal with Time Warner Cable is reported to be worth $3 billion, according to Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times. The deal was announced out of the blue on Monday, sending shockwaves through the L.A. broadcast marketplace as Time Warner will launch two new regional sports networks in time for the Lakers' 2012-13. The rumored dollar figure on the deal has only made the story more impactful.
A Time Warner spokesman told SBNation.com that the $3 billion figure was incorrect, but neither the cable provider nor the Lakers have revealed the deal's pricetag.
Flint reports that the Lakers had been receiving $30 million per year from Fox for the right to broadcast games on FoxSports West locally. Given the NBA's penchant for placing the Lakers on national TV broadcasts, that comes out to about 60 exclusive local games per season, or $500,000 per game. The new deal, executed for 20 years, comes out to about an estimated $2.5 million per game.
Time Warner isn't paying just for the games, and it's also taking Spanish-language rights for the second new regional sports network. But the exclusive games are the main attraction, and Time Warner is paying the Buss family a mighty large amount for the rights.
SportsByBrooks reports, and Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms, that Jerry Buss, who bought the Lakers decades ago and has watched the franchise's value soar, had feared that estate taxes upon his death would put family ownership of the Lakers in danger. This deal should erase that worry.
The NBA has no serious revenue sharing when it comes to local T.V. deals, so the Lakers will keep this take. Players and small market teams continue to fight for revenue sharing more akin to that which the NFL has, with a more balanced playing field as the incentive. Obviously, teams like the Lakers and New York Knicks have little interest in sharing their mammoth local T.V. profits.