TV contracts are something sports fans shouldn’t ever have to care about –it’s like the sheets being folded at a hotel room, it should be taken care of for us. But for Lakers fans and basketball fans in the greater Los Angeles area, TV contracts are about to be a very serious issue when it comes to viewing the sport and team they love.
Time Warner threw gobs of money at the Lakers to secure a lucrative 20-year TV deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion. That’s great for people who get Time Warner Cable in their homes, but according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, most of the homes and bars in the area aren’t subscribers to Time Warner, and some homes and bars can’t legally subscribe to Time Warner anyways due to FCC regulations.
The $3 billion TV deal means that 57 of the Lakers 82 games will be broadcast on SportsNet and Spanish-language channels airing games aren’t available on DirectTV, DISH Network or any other provider that’s not Time Warner.
The Times reports that sports bars in the area could be heavily effected by this. A local bar owner, who says Lakers games cause a 20% bump in business when they play, said simply that when customers ask if the games will be on, right now he has to say no.
“A lot of customers are calling asking if we’re going to have [the games]“, Gregg Wolcott, owner of the Hollyood Way Sports Bar said. “Right now we don’t.”
The Lakers have a lot to fear with this issue. Dwight Howard has come to town, but the team is aging and past it’s prime. However, the Clippers have two of the hottest stars in the NBA in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, something that in combination with blacked out Lakers games could prove to driveÂ interestÂ from the purple and gold to the blue and white.
For the Lakers sake — and more so their fans who have had the best offseason the Lakers have had in a long while — Time Warner irons out these issues. The Lakers are primed for a vintage run in the Western Conference, and most of L.A. might be watching the Clippers for once.