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Bobcats, Time Warner Cable, Fox Sports Strike Unprecedented Deal

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April 8, 2008

Video | Press Conference Transcript | Whitfield Interview

Robert L. Johnson, Majority Owner of Bobcats Sports & Entertainment (BSE), announced today the company has reached a naming rights agreement with Time Warner Cable (TWC) and a television broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports Net South (FSN South). Charlotte Bobcats Arena will become Time Warner Cable Arena, and television carriage of Bobcats basketball games will switch from News14 Carolina to FSN South beginning tonight when the Bobcats play the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“This is the most significant development for Bobcats Sports & Entertainment since the Bobcats were awarded the franchise in Charlotte,” said BSE Majority Owner, Robert L. Johnson. "A joint partnership with Time Warner Cable and FSN South represents a special and unique relationship that will join two dynamic media and entertainment companies in partnership with the Bobcats to better serve our fans and demonstrate that we in the sports and media business are doing our part to make the Charlotte Bobcats and Time Warner Cable Arena a major success story for the city of Charlotte and the surrounding region. The fact that we were able to get this complex deal done demonstrates the commitment of our organization to raise the profile of Charlotte and the excitement of Bobcats basketball.”

The agreements cap several months of negotiations and are the first example of a major professional sports franchise executing an arena entitlement/broadcast rights deal simultaneously.

“This is a watershed moment for our organization, and a symbol of our commitment to continually improve every facet of this business,” said BSE President and Chief Operating Officer, Fred Whitfield. “For more than a year we worked closely with Time Warner Cable on ways to enhance our relationship and bring FSN South into the fold as a key media partner, and I’m extremely proud of the passion, integrity, hard work and teamwork displayed by all parties that went into making this agreement a reality.”

In addition to the name change, Time Warner Cable Arena will be branded with interior and exterior signage, logos wherever applicable on playing surfaces and a dedicated concourse gallery that will enable TWC to showcase its programming and products. Activation of these elements will occur in the coming months.

“We are excited to enter into this partnership to benefit the Charlotte community, our customers and our team. This agreement demonstrates Time Warner Cable’s strong commitment to the Charlotte community and the Carolina region, and is a win for Time Warner Cable customers and sports fans across the region who will now be able to enjoy watching Bobcats games on FSN South. Charlotte is a vibrant and growing city, and Time Warner Cable is thrilled to put our name permanently on its skyline. Time Warner Cable Arena will be an exciting entertainment venue for many events, for people of all ages, for years to come, and we’re proud it will carry our name,” said Time Warner Cable’s Carolina Region Executive Vice President, Carol Hevey.

FSN South and sister network SportSouth will carry the remaining five games of this season, and seventy Bobcats games per season beginning with the 2008-09 campaign.

“Our partnership with the Bobcats solidifies FSN South’s position as the leading destination for local sports fans in the Carolinas,” said FSN South and SportSouth Senior Vice President and General Manager, Jeff Genthner. “Our commitment goes beyond televising games. We will present preseason coverage, expanded pre- and post-game coverage, and original programs that will showcase Bobcats players and coaches.”

Not lost in these agreements is a real and measured impact on the team’s basketball operations.

“From a basketball standpoint, this partnership helps us build a stronger connection to our fan base and a competitive advantage at home,” said BSE Managing Member of Basketball Operations, Michael Jordan. “The power of an energized crowd is unmistakable, and partners like Time Warner Cable and FSN South, with their tremendous reach throughout the Carolinas, can help bring that energy to the Arena every night.”

About Time Warner Cable Arena
The premiere destination for live entertainment in the Carolinas, Time Warner Cable Arena opened its doors on October 21, 2005 to a sold-out Rolling Stones concert. Located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, the city-owned and BSE-managed facility is home to the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats and East Coast Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers, as well as major concerts and touring shows. The building was designed to reflect Charlotte’s diverse urban culture, and anchor Uptown’s phenomenal recent growth and development.

About Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with technologically advanced, well-clustered systems located mainly in five geographic areas — New York state (including New York City), the Carolinas, Ohio, southern California (including Los Angeles) and Texas. As of December 31, 2007, Time Warner Cable served approximately 14.6 million customers who subscribed to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services.

About FSN South
FSN South, the nation’s largest regional sports network, reaches more than 12 million cable and satellite homes in seven states in the Southeast, and SportSouth reaches more than nine million cable and satellite homes across a six-state region. Through its affiliates and other Fox Networks Group-owned networks, FSN reaches more than 70 million homes through 16 owned-and-operated networks. Headquartered in Los Angeles, FSN serves as the television home to more than half of all MLB, NHL and NBA teams based in the United States and produces close to 5,000 live local events each year, including more than 1,600 in high definition.


Reader Comments

Rodrigo:
thank you so much now i can watch games with my tv and not from the interent this is so much better every game iam will see it THANK YOU and Time Warner Cable Arena

letsgocatsfan:
Fantastic move on the Bobcats part. Anything we can do to create more visiability for the organization is a plus. Getting out from under the "Channel 14" stigma can only help us move this team forward and return Charlotte professional basketball to dominance.

BigEisRealTalk:
Thank you so much for finally getting this deal done! I am a huge Bobcats fan and when my mom switched from TWC to DishNetwork because it was cheaper and had better channels such as NFL Network and ESPN U and many others I was not able to watch the Bobcats because DishNetwork does not have News 14 Carolina which is by far the WORST televising of basketball in the NBA, the announcers and that woman who tries waaaaayyyy too hard at halftime to be a real sports announcer but I am just happy to say I can finally watch the Bobcats again THANK YOU!

Alex:
FINALLY!

zdp5000:
Bring back Matt Devlin for some role in the game broadcast now that you have extra money.

Maurice:
I think it's great, we're sure to get more Bobcats Games on TV. Kudo's for Mr. Johnson and Mr. Jordan!!!

Phil G:
Thank you Bob Johnson!! It is about time the Bobcats organization made their games accessable to ALL Carolinas basketball fans!! It don't get any better than FSN South and SportSouth for regional coverage, and with Steve Martin behind the TV microphone, it's like old times! Just don't break our hearts the way George Shinn did!!

Nick in Carrboro:
I am very disappointed that the Bobcats will not be on News 14 any longer. I am 10 years old and in the 5th grade. My family will have to pay a lot extra to get FSN and I might not get to watch the Bobcats any more. Why can't the games be on both channels?

bobcats.rock:
I absolutely love it. I love the Charlotte Bobcats and I will be able to watch them now when I'm not at the arena at a home game. WAY TO GO!!!

Carter:
My wife and I have been listening to Bobcats games on the radio when they weren't televised in our area. I'm looking forward to watching all 82 games next year. I hope Henry, Steve and Stephanie stay as well.

Newman1:
Nick, see if you can talk your mom/and or your dad into getting Direct TV which includes FSN South and Sportsouth in their Basic package. Atleast this way you will be able to watch most of the Bobcats Games as usual. Note: Not included in the Family Package. Eventually were going to switch to Direct TV, because they offer more channels in HD then Time Warner Cable.

rickagun:
Thanks for the coverage. We get to about a dozen games a year but we only started after getting interested from watching on News 14. Attending when we can gives us a chance to visit friends in the Charlotte area as well as seeing what we always hope will be a win. I believe TV coverage in outlying areas does cause interest and creates the urge to see games live...

gnitro8:
Now if we could get a real coach!!!!

DJ:
Way to Go Bob & Mike, It took a little time, but you got it done boys and that's what matters! Great Job all around Thank You

Fres4:
Great news for this season ticket holder! Mr. Whitfield has shown great leadership taking charge of BSE operations and making things happen. I cant wait for next season!

OnceNTexas:
This is a HUGE step for the Charlotte Bobcats. This will allow the team, and it's managment to showcase the tallet, and workmanship of the Charlotte Bobcats throught the south. Thank You for making this happen. GO BOBCATS!!!

L4nd0n:
Thanks to Charter cable I barely ever got to watch the bobcats play...Now I can support a young and up-coming team sure to bring attention to Charlotte on FSN South.

pickenswinstons:
I hope everything works out for you guys. I think you guys are the best team around. Keep on keeping on. YOU ARE THE CHAMPS

Dcarnys:
About time, i have satelite and i couldnt get any bobcats games WHILE LIVING IN CHARLOTTE!!!!! this has to be the best move marketing wise for the bobcats ever.

CN:
Thank you, bobcats for giving satellite tv viewers access to the games instead of constant blackouts!


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