Time Warner officially launched it's English language and Spanish language Los Angeles regional sports networks tonight, with players from the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks on hand to ring in the festivities. The channel officially went live at 7:00pm, with a broadcast from the launch party in El Segundo.
Of course, the big question now is what this means for fans, especially those who don't have Time Warner Cable. Truthfully, the network is a partnership between the Lakers and Time Warner. As part of that agreement, the two entities are supposed to work to make the network available to all subscribers in the local area. Likely, negotiations will intensify this week.
The Lakers will retain editorial control of the content Time Warner will be producing, which includes behind the scenes programing following all aspects of the Lakers and even the Laker girls. The Galaxy are also supposed to get weekly team magazine type programming.
The other big selling point has been the inclusion of a dedicated Spanish language regional sports network, the first of its kind in the US. Time Warner Cable Deportes will be creating original content, not simply simulcasting what's being done on the English Language network.
Accompanying the Lakers on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet are the LA Galaxy and Sparks, who will help fill in the hours in the Laker offseason. As the network will broadcast in Las Vegas and Hawaii, it shall also carry Mountain West football and basketball.
Forbes is reporting that the deal will be worth $4 billion over twenty years to the Lakers. The Galaxy stand to make much less from the deal, reportedly $55 million over ten years. For both clubs, the partnership with Time Warner could pay off in the form of splashy free agents over the next decade.
Bill Macdonald and Stu Lantz will be the Lakers' commentators, with James Worthy in the studio; so on that end things won't be all that different. Mark Rogandino and Cobi Jones will continue on as Galaxy commentators.
The Lakers' first preseason game is on Sunday, October 7th, so expect a week's worth of "what happened in the offseason" content, specifically the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash who were both on hand to launch the new channel.
The schedule will not see the Galaxy on TWCS until October 21st, an away match against the San Jose Earthquakes. That'll be the only Galaxy match on TWCS this year unless they pick up some playoff match-ups. The Sparks are currently in the WBNA playoffs, awaiting a conference final opponent. All the WBNA playoff games have been broadcast on either ESPN or NBATV.