Although neither the company nor the Lakers would comment on the terms of their 20-year rights deal, industry insiders estimate the value at $3 billion. Time Warner Cable spent an additional $55 million for rights to the Galaxy soccer team for 10 years, and more than $30 million building a facility with three studios in El Segundo to house the networks.

Time Warner Cable has more on its shopping list and is eyeing the Dodgers, whose deal with Fox’s Prime Ticket expires next season.

But, to make the channels pay off, Time Warner Cable must get other distributors in the area to carry the networks as well. So far none is rushing to sign a contract.

Time Warner Cable is hoping its heavy investment in original programming beyond the games and forgoing infomercials — which fill most local sports channels when a game isn’t on and provide a steady stream of cash — will help sell the networks to other distributors.

– Reported by Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times