Cable operator Charter Communications has signed up to carry SportsNet, the new Time Warner Cable channel that is home to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Charter is the first major distribution deal for Time Warner Cable, which launched SportsNet and Deportes, a Spanish-language companion channel, Oct. 1. Charter has about 360,000 subscribers in the Southern California area.
Although the pact is a morale booster for Time Warner Cable, it has yet to land deals with satellite broadcaster DirecTV and Cox Cable, which are two of the biggest pay-TV providers serving Southern California.
Both DirecTV and Cox have said they are interested in carrying the channel on a specialty tier that subscribers would have to pay an additional fee to receive. Time Warner Cable wants its channels on the most widely distributed programming packages, not on a separate tier.
SportsNet and Deportes are scheduled to telecast their first Lakers game Wednesday. Besides the Lakers, Time Warner Cable also has TV rights to the Galaxy.