The Los Angeles Dodgers had a sellout crowd of over 53,000 yesterday for Opening Day, but for those not in attendance, the game was largely unavailable.
After the 2013 season, the Dodgers signed a deal with Time Warner Cable for an exclusive channel; however, the cable company was unable to strike a deal with other providers and the channel was only available to those with TWC. About 70 percent of the Los Angeles market is without the Dodgers for the second season in a row.
According to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, Dodgers chairman Mark Walter says the team is not standing by while the fans are blacked out:
We are working hard behind the scenes, we really are,” Walter said. “Seriously, we care a ton that the fans can’t all watch it.”
Asked whether he feels he should apologize to Dodgers fans, Walter said, “It’s sad. I want us to be on TV. We feel bad for the fans and we’re trying to do everything we can.”
Another wrench thrown into the negotiations is the fact that both TWC and DirecTV are in the process of separate mergers. Comcast and TWC, and AT&T and DirecTV are both in the process of mergers. Any deals would likely come once those are complete.
Walter agreed that a deal might not come until the processes are completed:
I think so, yes,” Walter said. “We can get some stuff done before that, but … I think the mergers have more to do with it than anything else.”
Until then, the Dodgers will continue to play on and their fans will continue to wait for a deal. Despite the TV issue, the Dodgers have already surpassed three million tickets sold for 2015 and should lead the league in attendance again.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Zack Greinke