LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Time Warner Cable has agreed to pay the Los Angeles Dodgers $7 billion to $8 billion for 20 years of exclusive TV rights, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The deal -- calling for creation of a Dodgers-dedicated cable channel that would televise the team's games beginning in 2014 -- would help the Dodgers cover the cost of a recent spending splurge that has brought several high-dollar free agents to the team. It could also alienate Time Warner customers if the company passes the cost along to subscribers, as it is expected to do, the newspaper said Wednesday.
The deal could also help Guggenheim Partners justify the $2.15 billion it paid to buy the Dodgers in 2012, the Times said.
The deal could prove unpopular among cable subscribers, since their monthly fees will likely increase whether they watch baseball or not, but it might prove to be a catalyzing event in a long-running debate about whether cable TV sports programming should be available a la carte, instead of as a standard part of basic channel lineups.
The deal is similar to one in which Time Warner agreed in 2011 to pay $3.6 billion over 20 years for TV rights to the NBA Los Angeles Lakers.
Citing people it said were familiar with the deal, the newspaper said it could be publicly announced this week.