Time Warner Cable subscribers have filed a lawsuit against the cable provider due to the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers and Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. The subscribers say that Time Warner abuses its position as the primary provider of cable television in Southern California and does not allow subscribers the opportunity to opt out of having access to those two teams' games, which in turn rises their cable bill between $4 and $5 a month.
Time Warner has become the exclusive home for both teams' local broadcast rights. It paid $3 billion for Lakers rights in February 2011 and $8 billion for the Dodgers in January of this year.
Lakers games are broadcast on TWC Sportsnet and TWC Deportes. Plans are in the works for the Dodgers to air on SportsNet LA. Both teams are included in the lawsuit, as they knew that consumers - "even non-sports fans" - would be forced into carrying the networks without the option of opting out.
The filing states that, "A very large segment of the consuming public is not sufficiently interested in Dodgers games to pay $50-$60 per year, but they have no way of unsubscribing from either the Lakers or Dodgers telecast, which together will add (or will if unrestrained) about $100 per year to the subscriber's TWC bill. TWC's bundling results in Defendants making huge profits, much of which is extracted from unwilling consumers who have no opportunity to delete unwanted telecasts."
The goal of the suit is to get an injunction that will "prevent future violations and restitution of the money paid to TWC, Lakers, and Dodgers for TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes, and TWC SportsNet LA telecasts they otherwise would have rejected."
Former Lakers star Magic Johnson is not named personally in the suit, even though he is a part owner of the Dodgers.