LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Four Time Warner Cable subscribers filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the cable company today, contending they should not be forced to pay higher rates to bankroll the company’s purchase of broadcasting rights for Lakers and Dodgers games — which they have no interest in watching.
“There is no legitimate business, legal, technological or economic reason why TWC cannot offer these Lakers and Dodgers games on a stand-alone channel basis so that only those subscribers who want and are willing to pay for them would do so and those who did not want these channels could ‘opt out,”’ according to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by subscribers Sherry Fischer, Stewart Graham, Todd Crow and Gavin McKiernan.
Dennis Johnson, director of media relations for Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles, said the company had no comment on the lawsuit.
According to the legal action, Time Warner’s purchase of broadcasting rights for Dodger and Laker games and resulting pass-through of charges to customers will lead to an annual cost of about $100 for each cable subscriber.
Citing FCC and other studies, the lawsuit contends that “approximately 60 percent of the population are not sports enthusiasts” and would prefer not to pay for Dodger or Laker programming.
“In sum, TWC will extract from its customer base primarily in Southern California at least $11 billion to recoup its investment, and approximately 60 percent of this amount, or $6.6 billion, is extracted from individuals who … do not watch and do not want to pay for Lakers and Dodgers telecasts and who, if given the option to do so, would opt out of such telecasts,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also names the Lakers and Dodgers as defendants.