This post originally on Dave's site, What You Pay For Sports. Dave will be contributing from time to time in addition to occasional syndication of his work.
If you need a prime example of just how much money regional sports networks can suck from your wallet, look no further than the City of Angels.
In the last three years, Los Angeles sports fans have been bombarded with news of their local teams signing TV deals with RSNs worth more than $13.3 billion. The L.A. Lakers kicked off this money grab in early 2011 by signing a 20-year, $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable, which led to the launch of TWC SportsNet. That network then struck a 10-year, $55 million deal with the MLS Cup-winning L.A. Galaxy.
Having lost the Lakers, Fox Sports West ended up making a 20-year, $3 billion deal of their own with the L.A. Angels of Anaheim the following December. Six months later, Fox Sports West and the Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings agreed to a 12-year, $250 million extension.
Then came the biggest bombshell. Time Warner Cable struck a deal with the L.A. Dodgers reportedly worth a whopping $7 billion over 25 years. More importantly, this deal called for the creation of yet another new RSN, SportsNet LA, dedicated solely to the Dodgers.
And who gets the honor of footing the bill for all these massive TV contracts? All the cable, satellite and fiber TV customers in the Los Angeles media market. Who else?
Here’s a rough breakdown of the pay TV services in the L.A. area, and the number of people who subscribe to them.