News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey insists he has no regrets about losing out on bidding for the Dodgers' television rights.
Rival Time Warner plunked down a reported $8 billion to broadcast the Los Angeles-based team's games for 25 years starting in 2014, but Carey told analysts and investors on Wednesday that the deal was "too rich for our blood."
The move was seen as a big loss for News Corp.'s regional network, Fox Sports, which controlled the rights to both the Dodgers and the Lakers for decades. That all changed in the span of two years. Time Warner won the rights to broadcast Lakers games in 2011 for a reported $3 billion.
However, Carey assured analysts and investors that by avoiding shelling out the big fees to air the basketball and baseball games, News Corp. ensured that its regional television business will remain profitable. The company still airs games for other local teams like the Angels, the Kings and the Clippers.
"We continue to have a healthy and vibrant Southern California business," Carey said.
The News Corp. executive's comments came after the media conglomerate bested Wall Street's expectations with its second quarter earnings. Net income for the three month period more than doubled to $2.38 billion while revenue increased 5 percent to $9.43 billion.
Growth in News Corp.'s regional television business helped off-set ratings and advertising declines in its national broadcast network, Fox. Overall, News Corp.'s television division saw operating income increase nearly 20 percent to $224 million.
Sports talk dominated the call with analysts Wednesday, though Carey largely avoided spilling details on when the company would launch its highly anticipated national sports network. He indicated that News Corp.'s potential challenge to ESPN was still months off, but said the company was pleased with its progress.
"We’ll continue to build up pent up demand," Carey said, while parrying a question about when the new network will be unveiled.
Even as he avoided divulging information about what News Corp. has cooking, he echoed conventional wisdom that in an age of DVR and Hulu, live sporting events are advertising nirvana for companies hoping to ensure their commercials get seen, not skipped through.
"Sports we think is going to be a force that is second to none," Carey said.