Dodgers to start own regional sports media network

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The Los Angeles Dodgers will launch its own regional sports network, calling it the best way to give “our fans what they want — more content and more Dodger baseball”.

The new Dodgers ownership group has created a company called American Media Productions that will start broadcasting Dodgers games in 2014 on a channel called SportsNet LA.

Time Warner, which will entirely fund the new sports network, will also be the network’s first distributor.

“We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want — more content and more Dodger baseball — was to launch our own network,” Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said in a statement.

“The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a world championship home to Los Angeles,” Walter added.

Although terms were not disclosed, the SportsBusiness Journal said it was a 25-year deal worth $7 billion.

According to the statement, Time Warner Cable has assumed most of the risk around the channel and promised to cover affiliate fees from distributors who refuse to carry it”.

Time Warner will also be responsible for other programming and hold the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales network of the channel.

The Dodgers’ TV deal is subject to MLB approval.

However, a source said the Dodgers and league could clash on how much of the proceeds will be shared with other teams.

TV rights are subject to revenue sharing, and high-revenue teams, including the Dodgers, have to share approximately one-third of their rights fees with low-revenue teams.

The Dodgers’ fair-market value has been set at $84 million a year with four percent increases each season.

The Dodgers could keep anything above that assuming the club took significant risk in starting its own network, as stated in the league’s current revenue sharing rules.

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