The Los Angeles Dodgers cable network, SportsNet LA, owned by the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable, is in the second year of its existence. While it’s composed of unique programming that provides unparalleled inside access, some of the regional sports network’s shine has been taken off by the distribution impasse.
In June TWC was bought out Charter Communications, thus expanding SportsNet LA’s reach and leading to record viewership. While Charter adding SportsNet LA was a significant step forward, DirecTV, Dishe Network and several others remain holdouts.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Dodgers chairman and controlling owner Mark Walter is confident a resolution to the impasse is forthcoming:
Walter sounded hopeful about securing widespread distribution for the Dodgers-owned cable channel, SportsNet LA, which remains unavailable to the majority of households in the Los Angeles area. Walter thinks the situation could be resolved before the end of the season. “You bet,” he said… Walter said he was unaware of specifics, but added, “I know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes trying to get things done.” Walter suspects the holdup is the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. “I think if the AT&T merger was finished, it would be done,” Walter said. “The companies are so focused on that.”
Since making his comments, it’s now reported AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV is expected to receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission. With the two pending mergers now essentially completed, the widespread hope and belief is it will unlock the door to progress in negotiations for carriage rights.