The Los Angeles Dodgers are 22 games into their regular season schedule and odds are if you haven’t had the benefit of attending games, you’ve only seen but a handful on TV. The Dodgers were the latest team to launch their own network in partnership with a cable provider. In owning their own network, SportsNet LA, the Dodgers have a deal in place that will land them just north of $8 billion over the next 25 years.
The additional revenue has aided in the Dodgers’ ability to sign free agents and re-sign players to lucrative deals. A byproduct of SportsNet LA however, has been fans who are signed with other cable providers have essentially been left in the dark. Outside of Time Warner, SportsNet LA is only available to Bright House Networks and Champion Broadband customers.
It’s been a war of words between TWC executives and representatives from other companies. Dish Network executive vice president David Shull said in early March they were unlikely to carry SportsNet LA and thus far Dish has held true to their word. More recently, TWC and DirecTV sparred through the media, likely in an effort for the respective sides to gain the general public’s support.
News of negotiations or any progress has been nonexistent, however recently, Dodgers president Stan Kasten told fans he believes DirecTV will not carry SportsNet LA the entire season, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin:
Dodgers President Stan Kasten acknowledged that he has told fans he expects DirecTV to hold out all season.
As more time has passed without deals being struck, fans have begun to turn their anger towards the Dodgers. Kasten is well aware of the frustration, but resigns to the fact that there isn’t much the Dodgers can do:
It’s an issue that consumes us every day,” Kasten said. “We are doing all that we can behind the scenes to help Time Warner and get this into as many homes as possible. I have to be honest: there are not a lot of things we can do.”
As the season continues, if TWC is unable to come to terms with other cable carriers, the Dodgers may face more scrutiny. Should thousands of fans be left in the dark, the Dodgers’ decision to create SportsNet LA may prove more costly than they anticipated.
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