×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner Cable Sued Over Spending on Lakers, Dodgers Rights

Class-action filing claims sports costs will be passed on to consumers

Time Warner Cable is being hit with a class action suit by four Southern California pay TV subscribers, who claim that the $11 billion the cable operator has paid for Lakers and Dodgers rights will be passed on to consumers, even those who have no interest in watching the games.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, is the latest challenge to the cable industry to offer a la carte programming, or at least more options by customers in selecting among tiers of channels.

“There is no legitimate business, legal, technological, or economic reason why (TW Cable) cannot offer these Lakers and Dodgers games on a standalone channel basis so that only those subscribers who want and are willing to pay for them would do so and those who did not want these channels could ‘opt out,'” the suit stated.

The complaint asserts that TW Cable’s practice is an unfair method of competition and a violation of business and professions code. It claims that subscribers to other multichannel services, like DirecTV and Verizon, also are affected because TW Cable, in selling rights to the games to its competitors, requires that they be included in enhanced basic packages without the choice of opting out.

Also named in the suit were the Dodgers and the Lakers.

A spokesman for TW Cable said the company had no comment.

The suit was filed by four customers: Sherry Fischer, of Los Angeles; Stewart R. Graham of Pasadena; Todd Crow of Orange County; and Gavin McKiernan of Long Beach. Fischer is a Time Warner Cable subscriber, while Graham subscribes to Charter, Crow to DirecTV and McKiernan to Verizon.

Time Warner Cable acquired Lakers rights in February, 2011, for a reported $3 billion. The suit claims that the added cost has been passed on to subscribers at an additional cost of about $4 per month. The cabler acquired Dodgers rights in January, at a reported $8 billion, and the suit claims that the company will pass along costs next year at the rate of $4 to $5 per subscriber.

“In sum, (TW Cable) will extract from its customer base primarily in Southern California at least $11 billion to recoups its investment, and approximately 60% of this amount, or $6.6 billion, is extracted from individuals who do not want and do not watch and do not want to pay for Lakers and Dodgers telecasts and who, if given the option to do so, would opt out of such telecasts,” the suit stated.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has proposed legislation intended to spur the industry to offer channels on an a la carte basis, and in introducing the legislation, he noted the high costs of sports channels like ESPN. But the cable industry said that such a plan could have the opposite effect of merely raising rates for the most prized channels while a diverse array of smaller channels would flounder. Nevertheless, at the Cable Show last week, TW Cable CEO Glenn Britt suggested that the industry may need to offer a greater selection of tiers for consumers.

The suit was field by attorney Maxwell Blecher and Courtney Palko of Blecher, Collins, Pepperman & Joye.

More Biz

  • Young ThugBillboard Hot 100, Day 2,

    Travis Scott Remix Drives Young Thug’s ‘Hot’ to No. 1 on Rolling Stone Top 100

    Driven by a remix featuring Travis Scott, Young Thug’s single “Hot” has roared to the top of the Rolling Stone Top 100 this week. The song racked up more than 20 million audio streams and 3,700 downloads. Also getting a big boost is buzzing artist Arizona Zervas, whose “Roxanne” soared to No. 6 after debuting at [...]

  • Kevin LilesUJA-Federation of New York's Music

    300’s Kevin Liles Joins NY:LON Summit Keynote Roster

    The Music Business Association (Music Biz) and Music Ally today announce that 300 Entertainment cofounder and CEO Kevin Liles will deliver a keynote interview at the fourth annual NY:LON Connect music business summit. The conference takes place January 16 – 17, 2020 at the Dream Downtown Hotel in New York. According to the announcement, Liles [...]

  • Warner Bros. HQ LA

    Small Brush Fire Breaks Out Above Warner Bros. Lot in Burbank

    UPDATED: A small brush fire broke out in the Hollywood Hills above the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, Calif., causing the Warner Bros. lot to evacuate as a precaution, before its forward progress was stopped at around 5 p.m. Saturday. According to the LAFD, fire crews are working on putting out the “still active [...]

  • Woody Allen

    Woody Allen Settles $68 Million Suit Against Amazon

    Woody Allen has settled his breach of contract lawsuit against Amazon, which canceled a four-picture deal with the filmmaker amid the #MeToo movement. Allen’s attorneys and lawyers for Amazon filed a joint notice dismissing the case on Friday night. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Allen filed suit in February, alleging that Amazon had [...]

  • Scott Stuber, Ron Howard are seen

    Netflix's Scott Stuber: Film Biz Needs to 'Be Calm and Talk Through' Exhibition Disputes

    Netflix film chief Scott Stuber urged film producers and exhibitors to come together to reach a consensus on exhibition window disputes as Netflix and other streaming giants move forcefully into feature production. Stuber, Netflix’s VP of film, spoke Saturday morning at the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By NY conference in a wide-ranging Q&A with [...]

  • Donald Trump Hollywood Racism

    President Trump Bashes Report of Talks With Mark Burnett for New 'Apprentice' Series

    President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to blast as “fake news” a report earlier this week that he is planning to develop a TV series with “The Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett following his time in the White House. On Thursday, the Daily Beast reported that Trump has been talking to Burnett, a [...]

  • BMG Music

    BMG Announces Move to Bigger Digs in L.A., Following Nashville and NYC Relocations

    Less than two months after announcing a planned move to a bigger and better facility in Nashville, BMG has declared plans to do the same in Los Angeles, with a deal in place to develop a two-story, 30,000-square-foot facility in the Miracle Mile district. It won’t be a long move: the location for the “proposed” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content