While the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group, led by president Stan Kasten, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the Guggenheim Group has made it clear that they are committed to winning by spending a ton of money and hiring all of the best available front office people, there is still one problem facing the Dodgers’ ownership group.
While the Dodgers have won two straight National League West championships under their new ownership, leading the Major Leagues in attendance each year, fans can’t watch the games at home.
The Dodgers are in the second year of a massive 25-year, $8.35 billion contract with Time Warner Cable, but TWC is unable to reach agreements with other cable providers. Only 30 percent of Los Angeles area households have TWC as their provider, so that means that 70 percent of fans can’t watch the games on TV.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Johnson believes that the TV issues has not affected the Dodgers’ brand:
No, it’s not hurting us,” Johnson said. “But we want to be on TV. You know that.”
Negotiations between TWC and other providers have been stalled pending government reviews of a proposed merger between TWC and Comcast. Despite the stall, Johnson said that they are still working to get an agreement done:
There are things going on,” Johnson said, offering no specifics. “There are meetings. There are people talking. There’s nothing we can tell you right now. But we are trying. We are working hard.”
Because TWC has exclusive TV rights in Los Angeles to Dodgers games, most nationally televised games are blacked out in Southern California, making going to the stadium the only way for people to see games. Because of that the Dodger Stadium attendance is already off to a record pace.
While the TV issue doesn’t seem like it will be resolved in the near future, it has not affected the team’s play on the field, as they just completed a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners.
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