For Sports Networks, You Gotta Pay to Play

Rising team prices and competition up the cost of programming
The hefty $2.3 billion price for the Dodgers could fuel cable fee hikes Photograph by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With baseball’s Opening Day come the annual rites of spring: hot dogs, Cracker Jack, and rising cable bills. The insatiable demand for sports has long fed the pay-TV ecosystem, largely because the fees to show all those games are easily passed on to consumers. But this season, pay-TV outfits are struggling to figure out how they can absorb the surging cost of sports programming without alienating customers.

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