Fox Sports battles Time Warner

Jun 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

News Corp.’s Fox Sports Net, whose Fox Sports Net West 2 telecasts the Los Angeles Dodgers, another News Corp. property, is in a major carriage dispute with Time Warner Cable in the Los Angeles area.
FSN wants to raise the “surcharge” it gets per subscriber for the Dodgers games. Time Warner services 350,000 homes in the area. TW is resisting the FSN rate raise, saying it is taking a stand against escalating player salaries. FSN is striking back with newspaper and radio ads that warn baseball fans that 40 Dodgers games might be blacked out if no deal is reached by the June 27 deadline. (A second deadline, on July 25, will follow for the California Angels games, which Fox Sports Net West also telecasts.)
When FSN raised the number of Dodgers games from 40 to 80 in 1999, it tacked on a 21-cent, per sub, per month surcharge, for a $2.52 per year, per sub total raise, according to an industry source on the Fox side of the dispute. Last year, FSN added a penny per month, per sub, and it wants to do it again this year, for a total of $2.76 per sub, per year, but Time Warner has balked. No other cable company has resisted these “surcharges,” according to the Fox side.
According to a statement outlining the Time Warner side of the dispute, Fox Sports will be withholding baseball broadcasts because “Time Warner refused to charge their customers an additional $3 surcharge for those telecasts.” Time Warner also maintains that it has “requested the right to offer the local games from Fox Sports on a pay-per-view basis to make the games available to sports fans without impacting other subscribers, but Fox Sports denied the request.”