The Los Angeles Dodgers began their 2014 season on Saturday, but not many fans were watching and it isn’t necessarily because of the odd start time due to the team opening up in Australia. Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA, which was the only viewing options for fans in the Los Angeles area, is currently available through TWC and two other smaller providers — Bright House Networks and Champion Broadband.
As is often the case when a new channel negotiates the rights with cable providers, the process is stagnant and increasingly frustrating. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who attended Opening Day in Australia, provided his thoughts on the matter, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I have faith that the parties will work this out. That’s all I can say. We always like things to be as smooth as possible, but there are always times in life when things don’t work out exactly right. But I have faith the parties will work it out and I know the parties want to work things out.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten, who recently stated he believes SportsNet LA would become more widely available in the near future, expressed his frustration on the lack of distributorship but remains confident, Saxon reports:
I’m disappointed it hasn’t been done already, but I’m confident it will get done.
The general sentiment was negotiations would likely linger with deals being struck at the eleventh hour. With the regular season underway, it may lead to an increase in the urgency for the channel and providers to come to terms. The Los Angeles Lakers experienced a similar situation with their channel, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, which wasn’t widely available until just prior to the start of the regular season and in some cases, after the season began. Dish Network has yet to add the Lakers’ network and vice president David Shull recently stated they likely would forgo adding SportsNet LA to its list of channels.
As it stands, the majority of fans will have the opportunity to get their first glimpse at Dodgers baseball on March 30 in their game with the San Diego Padres, which will be televised on ESPN.
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