Those pockets are about to get very deep and very full. Recent reports indicated that the Dodgers were about to finalize a new local television contract with Time Warner Cable that will pay them in excess of $7 billion over at least 20 years, beginning in 2014. The deal will give the Dodgers their own regional sports network, a channel on Time Warner devoted strictly to Dodgers coverage. Time Warner made a similar arrangement with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers before the current basketball season.
The $7 billion windfall would be the largest TV deal in sports history, and it would give the new Dodgers' owners a massive revenue increase. In 2012, the Dodgers received just $40 million from Fox Sports to televise their games in Southern California. That contract with Fox expires with the 2013 season. Every major league team also will get a boost in revenue next season when a new national television deal kicks in.
The Dodgers will have to submit the new TV contract to Major League Baseball for approval. A portion of it will be subject to revenue-sharing rules.
At $7 billion over 25 years, the average annual value of the contract would bring the Dodgers $280 million in revenue before they sell one ticket to Dodger Stadium. By contrast, the Angels signed a new TV deal with Fox Sports before the 2012 season for $3 billion over 20 seasons (an average of $150 million annually).
However, Dodgers fans can expect to pay for their team's new deal. Cable subscribers' monthly bills went up nearly $4 with the addition of the Lakers' channel. A similar bump is expected to follow the Dodgers' move to Time Warner Cable.