NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Time Warner Cable ( TWC) has blacked out LA Dodgers games to pay-TV providers unwilling to agree to a fee more than double what other regional sports networks charge.
The second-largest U.S. cable provider is reportedly charging as much as $3.84 per subscriber per month for access to SportsNet LA (the Dodgers network for which Time Warner Cable secured a 25-year distribution rights deal earlier this year). That price comes in far higher than a maximum $1.84 per subscriber other regional sports networks charge, according to SNL Kagan data. Other providers such as AT&T (T) and DirecTV (DTV) have balked at the high cost to carry the programming.
"It's very likely to weigh on the decision whether to approve the merger or not," S&P Capital IQ senior equity analyst Tuna Amobi told The Street. "It's really not a particularly good time for Time Warner Cable and Comcast because sports programming cost has been a very hot topic."
The Federal Communication Commission's key focus will be on whether a combined company will wield too much power over the industry, resulting in anti-consumer, anti-competitive practices such as has been seen with the Dodgers blackout.