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Kobe Doin’ (Net)work

2/21/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Time Warner Cable is jumping
into the regional sports network game
in L.A. in a big way, with a pair of Lakerscentric
channels, one in English and a dedicated
service for Latinos.

Th ose networks, tipping off with the 2012-
13 NBA season, are unnamed for now. But
hey, why not try on the Kobe Khannel — at
least for the short-term? More on that in a
moment.

The rights tag is some $3 billion over 20
years, a price too steep for longtime incumbents
Fox Sports West (home games) and
KCAL (away contests). Those fees aside,
TWC will have to invest many millions
more in startup, production and programming
costs.

But with the Lakers’ TV territory extending to
southern California, Nevada and Hawaii, some 6.5
million households, including those paying bills to
Charter, Cox, DirecTV, Dish and AT&T U-verse, are
in play. To simplify matters, let’s multiply that by a $2
per monthly subscriber fee and that’s $156
million annually. That says nothing of the
advertising/sponsorship dollars, or the additional
license fees the Hispanic network
may command.

Maybe the math isn’t so manic after all. Now,
for the part about Kobe doing work.

TWC could get an assist if the Purple and
Gold do the right thing and raise another championship
banner this season, drawing the Lakers
even with their nemesis, the Boston Celtics,
with 17 NBA championships apiece. A title
would also tie Bryant with Michael Jordan with
six rings each as the top NBA leaders/winners
this side of Bill Russell.

Better still, a squad other than Boston collects
the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2010-11, and the Lakers then
reclaim the crown next season, knotting their archrivals
in terms of titles, as Kobe squares ring things with His Airness.
Either way, the TWC affiliate team could pitch the
club and Kobe looking to do record work during the net’s
rookie year.

September