On a historic night where Clayton Kershaw tossed his first career no-hitter, the number of those who witnessed history was much smaller than the average viewership for games last season.
Granted, Los Angeles Dodgers fans could listen to the game on the radio. And yes, highlights of the amazing feat on the internet, but it is not the same experience as watching the action live or on television.
TWC holds a contract that makes them the regional rights-holders to the Dodgers’ games. The contract stems over 25 years and equals approximately $7 billion. Many Dodger fans are unhappy over the TV rights deal that has left nearly 70 percent of Dodger fans within the Los Angeles area unable to watch games from home.
Joe Flint of the LA Times provided a glimpse into the grim reality:
Last night's no-hitter got 52,000 viewers on SportsNet LA. Last year, Prime Ticket averaged 226,000 viewers per-game. #funfacts
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) June 19, 2014
TWC has yet to work out a deal with other cable providers such as AT&T, Charter Communication, DirecTV, Dish or Verizon. MLB.TV, an online channel in which you are able to watch every out-of-market MLB game for a monthly fee, does not allow you to watch Dodgers games if your device is detected within the viewing area of Southern California.
The steady fall in Nielsen ratings, which is down nearly 65 percent, is largely due to the lack of viewing access. Dodgers fans have been out of luck for most of the season, save for the occasional nationally broadcasted games.
Team president Stan Kasten told fans he doesn’t believe DirecTV will add the network to its programming this season, but recently, controlling owner Mark Walter suggested there is constant communication on getting deals completed and expressed optimism.
Currently, SportsNet LA is also available to Bright House Networks and Champion Broadband subscribers.
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