EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — Die-hard Lakers fans eager to watch one of the pre-season exhibition games on television are out of luck—unless they’re Time Warner Cable subscribers.
It’s all because the Lakers’ new $3 billion television partner hasn’t yet made deals with other cable providers, such as AT&T, DIRECTV, and Verizon FiOS, to run the channel SportsNet at a cost of nearly $4 per person.
“I had no idea I wouldn’t be able to see pre-season games,” said fan Curtis Holdsworth. “I have season tickets …but that’s not enough to enjoy the games with my family at home.”
Shark’s Cove Sports Bar in Manhattan Beach currently can’t air Lakers games because they have DIRECTV, which means the business is probably going elsewhere.
“Especially this year with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash… people are a little more excited early on in the season. We’ll have to figure something out one way or another,” said Todd Amarai.
Even officials at Lakers headquarters in El Segundo can’t watch the games.
Executive Vice President Jeanie Buss went to former coach Phil Jackson’s house to watch the team’s first battle against the Golden State Warriors.
Mark Shuken, the vice president of Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet, said they will make sure everyone gets a chance to see the basketball games.
“We’re working through relationships and negotiations with all other satellite and cable providers and Telco’s in order to get the network carried by those, as well,” he said. “Our intention is to make those deals happen and to make them happen soon.”
DIRECTV released a statement indicating they are actively negotiating with Time Warner:
“…Time Warner Cable and DIRECTV are the two largest TV providers serving Los Angeles, and as such, both share a responsibility to ensure that both sports fans and non-sports fans alike avoid any extraordinary increases to their families’ monthly bills.”
Industry analysts expect the TV negotiations to be finalized right before the start of the regular season on Oct. 31.