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Time Warner contract disputes could leave Lakers fans in lurch

Many Alameda County residents take their love of sports seriously. Contract disputes rarely affect a sports enthusiast’s ability to enjoy watching their favorite sports teams duke it out, but one recent disagreement may do just that for Lakers basketball fans. If Time Warner doesn’t resolve the contract dispute between it and several other providers, sports bars and individual satellite subscribers across the state who do not have access to Time Warner services may miss out on the majority of Lakers games this season.

Reportedly, Time Warner has the rights to broadcast Lakers games for the next 20 years. While some of the other networks–like ABC, ESPN and TNT–have the rights to show a combined total of 25 games this season, that means that Time Warner may be the only provider allowed to broadcast the other 57 Lakers games. Sports bars who do not have access to Time Warner services in their individual areas are understandably displeased with this possibility.

For many of those businesses, being able to show the Lakers games in their establishments can boost sales on game days, one man says at an average of 20 percent for his bar. A manager of another establishment pointed out that businesses like hers could lose as much as $3,000 a game if they do not have the ability to broadcast Lakers games this season. That might sound like small change to some, but for many businesses, that bump in revenues could mean the difference between success or failure.

On the plus side, this pessimistic prediction may prove unfounded. Time Warner is said to be negotiating with several other providers in an effort to successfully resolve the issue. Alameda County business owners who worry about how contract disputes like this one might affect their bottom line may benefit from consulting with an attorney who is experienced in negotiating these types of business law disputes.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Dispute over Lakers broadcasts has sports bars crying in their beer,” Jim Peltz, Oct. 23, 2012

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