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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jeanie Buss can’t watch Lakers games on TV

The Los Angeles Lakers’ new TV deal will prevent even Lakers executive Jeanie Buss from watching the team’s games on TV.

The Lakers signed a 20-year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable in February 2011. Time Warner created two new regional sports channels — Time Warner SportsNet, and the Spanish language Deportes — to carry games for which they’ve purchased broadcasting rights.

SportsNet and Deportes went live on Monday, but they are only available for customers who have Time Warner Cable. Only around a third of Southern California residents have Time Warner Cable (many others have DirecTV, Dish Network, or Cox), and Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of business operations, is one of the many area residents who don’t have Time Warner.

Buss attends the team’s home games, but she says she plans to watch road games at Phil Jackson’s place until a deal is reached between Time Warner and her cable provider.

“Certainly we hope we’ll be able to reach every single person living in Los Angeles and Southern California,” Buss said at a recent Time Warner Cable SportsNet event, per the Los Angeles Times. “I’m usually at the game. But when they’re on the road, I’m usually hanging out with Phil since he’s home. I don’t see that issue coming up for myself.”

Though missing Lakers games on TV won’t be a problem for Buss, it will be for thousands of Lakers fans.

The conflict centers around Time Warner Cable’s $3.95/subscriber fee they’re charging networks to carry the channels. Most providers consider that to be an exorbitant charge they refuse to pay. Time Warner Cable feels they need to charge such a high amount to see a return on their $3 billion investment.

Until a deal is reached, many Lakers fans won’t be able to watch their team.

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