Time Warner cuts deals with Charter, Verizon FiOS for Lakers telecasts

LOS ANGELES -- Time Warner Cable has cut its first major deal to receive payment for carriage of two new channels carrying Los Angeles Lakers basketball games. It said Friday it had signed up Charter Communications Inc., which has around 290,000 subscribers in the Los Angeles area.

Later in the afternoon, Time Warner released a statement saying it had also agreed to terms with Verizon FiOS. Spokeswoman Amy Summers said details would be announced in the coming days.

The first regular-season game to be carried on the channels is on Wednesday at Portland. The Lakers' season opener is at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday in a game to be broadcast on TNT.

Time Warner Cable bought the regional TV rights to Lakers games last year for an estimated $3 billion over 20 years, in a deal that also included games of pro soccer's L.A. Galaxy and the WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks. It must sign deals with other TV distributors to help offset costs.

Earlier this month, Time Warner signed up partner Bright House Networks, which only has a few thousand subscribers in Bakersfield.

Time Warner Cable has about 1.7 million customers in the region, but there are about 2.8 million other pay TV subscribers, including customers of DirecTV and Dish Network Corp., who might lose access to games if their providers don't reach a deal to carry the channels.

There are also nearly 700,000 TV households in the area that get their signals for free via antenna that will lose access to the Lakers' away games this year unless they opt to pay for TV. Lakers away games used to be broadcast over the airwaves for free by KCAL 9, a CBS Corp. TV station.