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Charter to shut down Spectrum Deportes channel in Los Angeles

Charter to shut down Spectrum Deportes channel in Los Angeles
Charter Communications will shut down Spectrum Deportes, its Spanish-language sports channel, on Aug. 15. (Dan Krauss / For The Times)

Cable giant Charter Communications is shutting down its 5-year-old Spectrum Deportes channel, citing small viewership for the Spanish-language channel.

“As with any network, we are constantly evaluating our programming to provide our viewers with content they want to see,” Charter said Monday night in a statement. “While we never expected Lakers and Galaxy games to have equal viewership on Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes, the [Spanish-language] network averaged less than a few thousand viewers per season since its launch.”

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The channel will cease operations Aug. 15. The closure will mark the end of an experiment as Spectrum Deportes (previously known as Time Warner Cable Deportes) had the distinction of being the nation’s first 24-hour Spanish-language regional sports network.

Both SportsNet channels, based in El Segundo, were launched in late 2012 by Time Warner Cable, which was acquired by Charter in 2016.

Charter, which brands its service as Spectrum, said it would provide an audio feed in Spanish for live Lakers, Galaxy and other SportsNet games. The primary SportsNet channel, which carries Lakers and Galaxy games with commentary in English, will remain in operation.

Viewership data showed that considerably more Spanish-speaking viewers were watching Lakers games on the English-language channel. “Lakers broadcasts had 12 times as many Spanish-speaking viewers on SportsNet than on Deportes during the 2017-18 season,” the company said.

“This realignment reflects research and feedback that the vast majority of our Spanish-speaking viewers consistently watch Lakers and Galaxy games and programming on SportsNet,” the company said.

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