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TV Prediction
Prediction: DIRECTV Will Carry Laker Channel This Month
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 9, 2012) -- The first boos coming this season from Laker Nation have been directed at DIRECTV. The nation's top satellite TV service -- one that is based in the Los Angeles area -- has thus far not agreed to carry SportsNet, the new Time Warner Cable-owned Los Angeles Laker channel.

However, I predict that DIRECTV will add the channel by October 30, the day the Lakers open the regular season against the Dallas Mavericks. And here's why.

While DIRECTV has yet to carry the new Pac 12 Network, the satcaster is regarded by most industry observers as the nation's sports leader when it comes to TV providers. DIRECTV has the NFL Sunday Ticket, the MLB, NHL and NBA packages and nearly all regional sports channels as well as ESPN's suite of sports networks.

There's no doubting that sports or, to put it more precisely, a wide array of sports channels is a major reason why DIRECTV has been able to accumulate 20 million subscribers over the years. Sports fans feel confident that their favorite team, or sport, will always be available on DIRECTV.
DIRECTV does not want to muddy that perception by failing to add the new Laker channel.

Now you might bring up the omission of the Pac 12 Network. If DIRECTV likes sports so much, why hasn't it added the West Coast-based regional sports channel?

Well, many Pac 12 games can be found on other networks that are available on DIRECTV, such as ESPN. Consequently, the fan anger over DIRECTV not carrying the Pac 12 Network has been tempered. (That said, I still think DIRECTV wants to carry the channel, but only if it can persuade the Pac 12 to allow it to offer it for a separate monthly fee. It wouldn't surprise me if the two sides reach a compromise sometime this season.)

The Laker channel is another story, however. Some Laker games will be on ESPN, TNT and ABC, but the overwhelming majority will be exclusive to SportsNet. In addition, the Laker franchise is enormously popular in the Southern California area. Any TV provider that fails to carry the Lakers is one that risks losing a large number of subscribers.

So I think between now and October 30, DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable will agree to terms. In fact, my gut tells me that DIRECTV is ready to agree now, but is content to wait until close to the season opener because it can save money by not carrying the channel for the first three weeks of October. At this point, few subs will leave DIRECTV over missing some exhibition games.

What do you think? Offer your comments below!

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