Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) denied reports that it plans to take a $1 billion write-down on its Dodgers-based regional sports network, TWC SportsNet LA.
Responding to a Tuesday report in the New York Post, TWC released a confusing statement to reporters, saying it doesn't even own an asset relating to the Los Angeles-based Major League Baseball franchise.
"In fact, TWC does not carry an asset on its balance sheet related to the Dodgers and, therefore, there is no asset for it to write down now or in the future," the company said. "We continue to believe in the long-term value of the network and remain eager to make it available to all Dodgers' fans."
A TWC representative has yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry for clarification on this portion of the statement.
TWC agreed to pay the Dodgers $8.35 billion over 25 years in January 2013 for the baseball team's exclusive local TV rights.
The MSO has been unable to carve out deals with other pay-TV operators in the Southern California region for the channel built around those rights, TWC SportsNet LA. The channel is only distributed on TWC in that market right now, reaching only about 30 percent of pay-TV homes.
An anonymous source--perhaps someone with a DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) employee badge?--told the Post that SportsNet LA's market value comes out to only around $3 per subscriber, not the $5 a sub TWC is seeking.
In order for TWC's merger with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) to close, TWC will have to write off the resulting differential on its balance sheets.
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Playing the SportsNet LA blame game: Include the fans and the team, too