Time Warner Cable, not Fox Sports/Prime Ticket, will emerge as the Dodgers' new cable TV partner starting in 2014, but only to help the team launch its own channel, sources reported to Bloomberg News this morning.

No deal has been signed -- rumors are that it is in the $7 billion range, making it the most expensive local TV deal in history -- but an announcement officially could come Thursday. Neither the Dodgers' Guggenheim Partners nor Time Warner Cable commented on the reports.

Prime Ticket had whipped up a deal in the neighborhood of $6 billion for 25 years, according to reports that leaked out in late November, hoping that word got out that it was serious about extending a partnership that had lasted more than a decade. Prime Ticket had first rights to renegotiate its deal that will expire after the upcoming season.

Time Warner was able to join the negotiations when the Prime Ticket exclusive window expired in November.

The immediate problem for the Dodgers will be to find channel space if it ventures off into its own. Time Warner Cable recently created the TWC SportsNet and Deportes channels when it obtained the long-term rights to the Lakers (as well as the Galaxy and Sparks), and then saw the anticipated growing pains of trying to get other cable and dish systems to pay as much as $3.95 per subscriber per month to carry it.

The Dodgers' defection to Time Warner would also be another huge blow to Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, losing both its anchor tenants and programming content providers in the matter of two seasons.


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