Cable Dispute Means Many Can't Watch Lakers

Even the Lakers can't watch the Lakers, thanks to cable snafu.

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Sunday, Oct 7, 2012  |  Updated 11:58 AM PDT
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Cable Dispute Means Many Can't Watch Lakers

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EL SEGUNDO, CA - OCTOBER 01: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers on a video set for members of the media during Media Day at Toyota Sports Center on October 1, 2012 in El Segundo, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Hoping to watch Sunday night's pre-season basketball opener between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oakland-based Golden State Warriors?

Better check your cable provider.

Time Warner Cable, which owns the rights to show Lakers basketball games, is still negotiating with major providers including At&T, DISH Network, Verizon and Direct TV over allowing the games to run on those services.

"We expect that Time Warner will reach deals with other TV providers in the near future, but I cannot give you an estimate on when," Lakers spokesman John Black said Sunday morning in an email.

As of Sunday, viewers with basic cable from Time Warner will be able to watch the game on Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. Viewers with Bright House Networks, a provider in the Bakersfield area, will also be able to see it.

At issue is whether other cable providers are willing to pay the $3.95 per subscriber that Time Warner is demanding in order to allow them to also make the games available.

"Negotiations with other providers to carry the networks are ongoing but have not yet concluded," a Time Warner spokeswoman said Sunday.

On the Lakers website Sunday morning, Time Warner says that people who do not subscribe to their cable service will still be able to see the games.

But then, under the Frequently Asked Questions section, it says that the company hopes to reach a deal with other providers soon.

It offers a search box to enter your zip code and cable provider to see if a deal has been reached yet.

If there's no deal, a window pops up asking viewers to send an email to their provider, asking the company to sign up with Time Warner's new sports network.

The website does not say why a deal has not been reached with other providers, but news reports have said that it is because the various cable outlets have not yet agreed on how much they should pay Time Warner for the games.

In Los Angeles, this apparent stalemate has drawn the ire of local sports and media columnists.

"It's so nutty, as of now, even the Lakers can't watch the Lakers," wrote L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke, because the team's headquarters gets Direct TV.

Sunday's game will be played in Fresno at 7 p.m.

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