College Football 2012: Time Warner Cable Makes a Great Play with MWC Deal

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 29, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Ronnie Hillman #13 of San Diego State runs for a first down as Jordan Kovacs #32 of the Michigan Wolverines attempts to make the stop runs during the first half of the game at Michigan Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Time Warner Cable Sports Net reached a deal with CBS Sports to grab a block of content for its channel in a move that will help the company grow its California-based start-up. The move, which makes TWC Sports Net the official home of San Diego State, UNLV and Fresno State for football and basketball, starts Oct. 1, as Multichannel reports. 

The deal itself was unique. The Los Angeles Times reported that TWC Sports Net did not buy the games in the traditional sense, rather it traded CBS Sports to obtain the content for its budding channel:

According to people familiar with the matter, CBS Sports Network, a cable channel that focuses primarily on college sports, agreed to swap the rights to the games in return for greater distribution on Time Warner Cable systems. As a result of the agreement, CBS Sports Network is expected to add 1 million subscribers, which would bring its national reach to almost 50 million homes.

We've talked in the past about how CBS Sports Network needs content. Along with the need for inventory, it also needs eyeballs to grow as a viable sports asset to CBS Sports. By increasing its subscriber base, giving more people access to the channel, CBS Sports Network can work on pushing its remaining inventory to the masses and shoring up its programming.

For the schools involved, they get the luxury of a channel that is more largely invested in their success. San Diego State, UNLV and Fresno State are all in the same target market as TWC Sports Net's major product: Lakers basketball. That means Lakers fans will be able to watch teams within their region on a channel that they will grow increasingly familiar with.

Getting a home for games is a must, and instead of being ferried to online avenues, pay-per-view channels or receiving no television exposure at all, these three institutions will now have the ability to make their big-revenue sports available for easy viewing.

Time Warner Cable Sports Net has new content, and as it slowly pieces together its network for the October release, the addition of football helps make the network even more marketable. College football, after the NFL, is the nation's bestselling sport, and giving regional teams a home will help the channel gain traction.

TWC wins, CBS Sports Network gets a boost, plus the Aztecs, Rebels and Bulldogs come out smiling as well.