A press conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow involving representatives of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson. The Sparks are up for sale. Johnson has money.
That’s about all we know at the moment. Connect the dots at your own leisure.
Here’s what we don’t know:
We don’t know how the Dodgers plan to fill out the programming lineup of their new 24-7 cable network, SportsNet LA, beyond games and an evening roundtable show from El Segundo. If you’re looking for a point of comparison, TWC SportsNet (the Lakers’ local 24-7 network) has turned to a healthy dose of reruns, adventure sports, and the occasional college basketball game. (Portland-Gonzaga, anyone?) What will the good folks at Time Warner select to occupy the dull Dodger hours?
Enter the Sparks. Maybe.
We don’t know how a sale of the Sparks to Johnson and his partners will directly affect the Dodgers, if there’s any effect at all. Indirectly at least, airing some Sparks games might make the new network’s odd hours more watchable — if women’s basketball is your thing. The WNBA season runs from roughly May through September.
The Sparks (who aren’t affiliated with the Lakers) signed a multi-year contract with Time Warner to air some games prior to the 2012 season. TWC SportsNet aired some of the Sparks’ games the last two seasons. We don’t know if that contract is still in place.
When she announced the team was up for sale in January, Sparks chairman Paula Madison told the Associated Press that the Sparks had lost $12 million from 2007-13. The Chicago Sun Times reported in 2011 that “The majority of WNBA teams are believed to have lost money each year, with the NBA subsidizing some of the losses.”
So if Magic is throwing his owner’s hat into the WNBA arena, he can reasonably expect to lose money — at least at the outset.