Stunning development by the LA Galaxy who have signed a ten year TV contract with Time Warner for $55m. What is stunning about this deal is that the number of games to be televised each year is undetermined, as that will depend upon ESPN and NBC’s selection of games. To reword that sentence. Time Warner will pay the LA Galaxy $5m a year to televise the games that FSC, ESPN or NBC does not want to show.
In addition to the club’s MLS games, Time Warner will also have the opportunity to televise the Galaxy’s high-profile friendlies and other non-league matches, with all games being shown in HD.
So why is Time Warner doing this? It’s not as if the MLS and the Galaxy have generated great TV ratings for Fox, who had been paying between $300,000 to $500,000 for the Galaxy’s rights, carried 19 Galaxy games this year.
The reason is that Time Warner and Fox Sports are in a battle to conquer the TV sports market in southern California. Paying $55m over 10 years is peanuts compared to the $1B, 20 year contract the Lakers got.
The Galaxy get increased exposure and a pre-and post-game show while Time Warner signs up another LA team to a long-term deal. It’s a win-win for everyone. As Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG said at the press conference announcing this deal:
“Today’s deal is groundbreaking, not only for our brand, but for our region, our sport and our industry and never would have happened without the faith, belief and wisdom that our partners at Time Warner Cable share with us. Time Warner Cable’s commitment to launching the Spanish language channel, I believe, was the most important factor that got this deal done. It will give us a tremendous opportunity to grow our brand while connecting with our fans in a way we’ve never before done. Combine this with the additional programming, such as pre- and post-game shows, weekly magazine shows and other on-air elements and this becomes the best deal we could have ever imagined, not only for us, but most importantly, our fans.”