Well, the first domino has fallen.
TWC has announced that an agreement with Charter Cable to distribute TWC Sportsnet, and the channel should be available to Charter subscribers by October 31st, not so coincidentally the day TWC's first regular season telecast of a Los Angeles Lakers game.
This morning, I took a look at the growing enmity between TWC and some of the major players (Directv, Cox Cable) regarding their negotiations for distributing Sportsnet. I have no idea whether this development changes those negotiations or not. My guess is that it does not change things dramatically, because Charter is a cable provider (as opposed to satellite) and therefore is only available in certain areas which cannot compete with Cox*. But, at the very least it provides a new section of Los Angeles with access to Sportsnet that did not have it previously.
Will the first partner to sign on for distribution be the crack in the dam? One can only hope, because time is running out.
*Please take all of this with a grain of salt, I'm not an expert.