The Breakdown

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4 subscribers sue Time Warner Cable over Lakers, Dodgers channels

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Four Time Warner Cable (TWC) subscribers have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the company.  The lawsuit contends the cable company is forcing them to pay higher rates for Los Angeles Lakers broadcasts that they have no interest in watching and will eventually do the same with L.A. Dodgers broadcasts.  

"There is no legitimate business, legal, technological or economic reason why TWC cannot offer these Lakers and Dodgers games on a stand-alone channel basis so that only those subscribers who want and are willing to pay for them would do so and those who did not want these channels could 'opt out,'"according to the lawsuit.  

Time Warner Cable subscribers Sherry Fischer, Stewart Graham, Todd Crow and Gavin McKiernan filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.  

The lawsuit claims that "according to FCC and other studies 60 percent of the population are not sports enthusiasts and left on their own would not subscribe to pay for the Lakers telecast."

Time Warner Cable declined to comment on the lawsuit.  

In 2011, TWC paid $3 billion dollars for the right to televise Lakers games for 20 years then launched TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes for those broadcasts.  The lawsuit contends the added cost passed on to subscribers is $4 dollars per month.  

Earlier this year, Time Warner Cable paid a reported $8 billion dollars to broadcast Dodgers games.  The lawsuit claims that if the court doesn't intervene, the cable company will pass along another $4 to $5 per month once it launches its channel for Dodgers games in 2014.  

"It's crazy," said Maxwell Blecher, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. "You go into a supermarket, and you put whatever you want in the cart and you check out, and that's the way you should buy cable." 

The Lakers and Dodgers are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Both teams declined comment.  

Time Warner Cable Complaint


With contributions from KPCC Wire Services

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