The Los Angeles Dodgers have now played 49 games, Yasiel Puig has hit 10 home runs and tallied 38 RBIs, and Dee Gordon has stolen an MLB-high 28 bases. Yet, the majority of Los Angeles residents are unable to stay home and see the Dodgers on their television sets.
Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA, a network dedicated to Dodgers coverage back in February, or a time when many believed they would have access to the channel come late-May. TWC has come to terms with Bright House Networks and Champion Broadband, but none of the other big names in the industry such as, AT&T, Charter, Dish Network or DirecTV.
TWC accused DirecTV of walking away from the negotiating table in April, which DirecTV refuted and there has yet to be another update on negotiations.
In an interview with Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, Dan York, vice president of programming for DirecTV, shared his belief that TWC is looking to make others pay for their contract with the Dodgers:
Time Warner Cable did an unprecedented deal and now they expect all their competitors to bankroll that deal,” York told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “That includes the customers who have no interest in watching the Dodgers, and that’s not fair to millions of families.”
Based on reports, a sticking point appears to be DirecTV’s desire to offering SportsNet LA on a pay-per-view basis or as part of a sports package, rather making it required that their customers pay for the channel regardless of their interest in it.
Negotiations of this sort have become the norm in the sports world as teams look for added ways to increase their revenue. A similar standoff occurred when the Los Angeles Lakers partnered with TWC to create Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Similarly, the network was launched prior to the season beginning and negotiations carried over into the regular season.
Despite not yet coming to a distribution agreement with TWC, DirecTV recently increased the fee of their regional sports package. Some customers claimed they were able to get a refund on their monthly bill. Last month, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti expressed hope the situation would get resolved, but nothing’s changed.
As the season continues to wear on, the notion that thousands of fans may go an entire season without being able to watch the Dodgers from the comfort of their own home moves closer to becoming a disappointing reality.
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