Media pack for Dodgers, Lakers? What a partnership could create
Mark Walter and Todd Boehly have struck a deal destined to be remembered as the last big deal in the local cable sports war. In 2013, these two members of the Dodgers ownership group persuaded Time Warner Cable to launch a new cable channel for the Dodgers, give the team ownership of the channel and pay the team $ 8.35 billion. dollars for broadcast rights to matches.
Since then, tens of millions of viewers across America have canceled their subscriptions to cable and satellite providers. Some of these suppliers have gone bankrupt or been absorbed by mergers. As Time Warner Cable-free Dodgers fans discovered the hard way, other providers have cut back or removed sports offerings to avoid paying expensive fees.
New streaming services seem to be popping up every day. You have more freedom to pay for what you want to watch, rather than paying for dozens of channels that companies threw in the bundle that you had to buy to get the three or four channels you really wanted. Amazon can make a movie and stream it to you, all without a Hollywood production company or cable partner.
A decade from now, we could be watching the Dodgers or the Lakers with any of these technologies, and maybe some that don’t exist today. With so many video programs in so many different forms competing for your time and money, the Dodgers and Lakers have a huge advantage over the competition: these are the two teams that Los Angeles wants to watch the most, and this is not. not particularly close.
As of Saturday, Walter and Boehly have had their say in how you’ll watch the Dodgers and Lakers for decades to come. With Walter and Boehly buying a minority stake in the Lakers, the two teams would have the opportunity to sell each other together, in what would be the only must-see sports ensemble in North America’s second-largest media market.
“These two teams would collectively put you in a position to dominate the market,” said Ed Desser, founding president of NBA TV and currently Santa Monica-based sports media consultant.
The Dodgers and Lakers have a wide appeal beyond the Los Angeles market. The Lakers have won 17 NBA titles, the Dodgers seven World Series championships.
Last month, Forbes listed the two as one of North America’s 10 most valuable sports franchises, with the Dodgers worth around $ 3.6 billion. In the deal in which Walter and Boehly bought a minority stake, according to Sportico, the Lakers were valued at about $ 5 billion.
“The ability to bring together two global assets from a major entertainment market is expected to be in huge demand,” said David Carter, who teaches sports business at USC.
“The global reach of both brands, the winning traditions and the brand’s overall heritage are simply out of this world. “
Nothing seems imminent on that front: Jeanie Buss still makes the decisions for the Lakers, and Spectrum retains the Lakers’ local television rights throughout the 2031-32 season.
But, with the proliferation of streaming services making subscriptions an increasingly competitive business, the Dodgers and Lakers could be poised to offer the undisputed killer app for local sports, with interactivity and community surrounding. the games of the most popular teams in the city.
“The only way to be relevant in this world, in my opinion, is to have live content that brings people together – not physically, but through networks,” Boehly told The Times in a 2012 interview.
“This type of interactivity is extremely valuable programming. It’s not like the box is talking to you. And it will become more and more interesting as interactivity develops.
Amazon, for example, is Stream 21 New York Yankees Games this season on its Prime Video service, with what has been called its “exclusive X-ray technology, which allows fans to stream…. “
Big tech companies have cautiously dabbled in the sport – Facebook hosted a weekly Major League Baseball game last season and YouTube is doing the same this season – but Amazon has signed up this year. $ 11 billion for exclusive rights to NFL games on Thursday night until 2033.
“I don’t think you would call $ 11 billion for NFL rights Thursday night by dipping your toe in the water,” Desser said.
As the old saying goes, content is king.
“Value comes from the content,” Desser said. “The value is a function of the interest of the respective teams.”
And, in Los Angeles sports, the Dodgers and Lakers are king.