I wrote the Lakers this past weekend about the channels, as well as DirecTV. I received a reply from the Lakers today, and while it was obviously a form letter, it had a little more thought behind it then some of the ones I have seen from some other companies, including DirecTV.
Here it is:
Thank you for writing to the Lakers. We are sorry for the frustration the process of launching these new networks has created.
First off, in terms of the nuts and bolts of this, the new networks that will carry the Lakers, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, will not only exist on Time Warner Cable. Currently, negotiations are on-going with DirecTV. Although no agreement has been reached, these negotiations are standard for any new network and both sides are working hard to come to an agreement. Empirically, it is the nature of these negotiations to go down to the wire.
We are not throwing up our hands on this. On the business side of our company, this issue is number 1 on our list of importance.
Both the Lakers and Time Warner Cable Sports are committed to getting distribution to as many fans as possible. We assure you, Time Warner Cable SportsNet know that we desire carriage deals completed as soon as possible. We know this because they have been in lockstep with us on this issue from day one. In fact, as it pertains to goals, we would submit that the goals of all concerned are aligned. The fans want to see the Lakers, the Lakers want to have as many fans as possible watching us, Time Warner Cable SportsNet wants as many fans watching as possible and the carriers want the product because a large portion of their customers are Lakers fans. It's a matter of negotiating an agreement that is acceptable to all of those parties and again Time Warner Cable SportsNet is working hard to reach agreements.
Other fans have voiced opinions similar to yours, that we should have guaranteed coverage prior to agreeing to work with Time Warner Cable Sports. While that would have been nice, it just isn't within the structure of the broadcast industry to allow for that. As you know from being a long-time fan, choosing to partner with a pay TV platform, like FSW or TWCS, is a path that will involve carriage negotiations at some point. Perhaps you remember a number of situations in recent years when FSW was in negotiations with a carrier and we worried fans might miss games.
We appreciate that you have taken the time to write to us, we do care and even when they're unhappy, we like hearing from our fans. The best way you can help the process, help us and help yourself is by contacting DirecTV and letting them know you want them to carry the Lakers. In many ways DirecTV is your agent. You pay them to acquire the programming you desire. If you aren't communicating your wishes to them, they won't know what you want. If you already have been in contact with DirecTV, we thank you for taking the time to do so and encourage you to continue your dialogue with them. You can call them or go to http://iwantmylakers.com
to fill in your zip code and provider information and send a note to your provider.
Los Angeles Lakers