We found out yesterday that Time Warner dropped the price carriers would have to pay to carry SportsNetLA for the first time ever and today, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred weighed in on the subject, given this new information.

In terms of news, this was certainly interesting, as MLB (who one would imagine is a partner with DirectTV as well as other carriers) made a fairly strong statement, putting the onus on DirecTV to do something.


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Here is the official statement from Manfred, via official MLB release.

“The distribution dispute involving DirecTV, AT&T, COX and Verizon has gone on too long. The Dodgers’ massive fan base deserves to be able to watch Dodger games regardless of their choice of provider. The situation is particularly acute given that this is Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final season. Time Warner has made a significant economic move that I hope will be accepted by the providers.”

Not only that, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued this statement about negotiations.

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That last sentence makes this news. Up until he mentions the significant economic move, this is more wishing for a resolution, but by bringing up the price drop, he’s pretty directly calling out the carriers.

As he should, really. Time Warner has taken their brunt of blame in all this (as they should to a certain extent), but somewhat unfairly. Somehow forgotten has been how DirecTV and other carriers simply will not negotiate with Time Warner, which seems fairly immature, given what’s at stake.

Sure, other carriers have the leverage, but the unfortunate thing is their leverage comes in the form of Dodgers fans who remain unable to watch the games. Aiding in their leverage are the multi-year contracts people sign up for, which, again, feels like those simply interested in watching their favorite baseball team play are being taken advantage of.

While it’s unclear whether this price drop will actually get DirecTV back to the negotiating table we can be certain of one thing: MLB is pretty sick of hearing about this and his latest statement puts the ball pretty squarely in DirecTV’s court.

It isn’t like he’s asking for all that much: Just approach the bargaining table again and stop using fans as leverage in a corporate issue.

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7 Responses

  1. jfmiller28

    The price drop is a red herring.  DirectTV has been clear they will allow TWC to set any price they want for inclusion in their sports package, but they will not add SNLA to their basic subscription package at any price. This is not about price.  It is about distribution. DirectTV has decided that they will hold the line on the cost of a basic subscription by not including extra channels that are not of general interest.  Other TV providers must follow suit or see DirectTV undercut their price for a basic subscription.

    Reply
  2. JacksonEbner

    The channel is only worth what dodger fans are willing to pay for it.  The model of making people pay for something they don’t want is ridiculous and not how things should work.  Direct TV should never give in, and Time Warner should do the honorable thing, set a price for it, and let Dodger fans who want it have the option to pay for it, and stop trying to rip off the whole freaking city, 90% of who will never watch a baseball game.

    Reply
  3. Gllipford

    You made not one single case for Direct TV engaging in further negotiations. If it’s viewers were demanding Dodgers baseball, you can bet out would carrying it. This is a great lesson in econoMics, butwe should never expect pro sports to respect the market.

    Reply
  4. Rebel2016

    If the Dodgers and the commissioner really cared they could renegotiate the contract to make it more affordable. But the Dodgers say f*** no we got paid. Who cares if most of the fans can’t see us

    Reply
  5. LucianoBeltran

    Greed! The players, the owners, the media etc… The only people who can afford going to MLB games are the upper middle class and the rich.

    Reply
  6. nodrog60

    Let’s get real. If direct TV customers were demanding dodger tv and the economics made sense, we would have dodgers on direct TV. Obviously the demand is not as great as a few sportswriters and hard core fans would want us to believe! Direct TV will pay what the demand dictates. No thing more. 30% may or may not be enough for the economics to work. We will soon see.

    Reply

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