Due to multiple satellite and cable TV providers not coming to terms with Time Warner Cable to carry SportsNet LA, the majority of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2014 season went unseen.
After their offer to enter binding arbitration was rejected by DirecTV, SportsNet LA attempted to salvage what was a frustrating development by broadcasting the final six regular-season games on KDOC, an over the air the channel.
However, a permanent solution has yet to be reached. Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten expressed optimism in December that carriage rights deals would be in place by Opening Day 2015, though with that just under two months away, there’s been little news on any progress being made.
As the impasse carried on in 2014, former MLB commissioner Bud Selig commended the fans’ ongoing support of the franchise and said the commissioner’s office had gotten involved in the negotiations. With Rob Manfred now at the helm as commissioner, he said the matter is not MLB’s to resolve, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
Distribution issues are fundamentally issues between the rights holder and the distributors. I have no role or leverage in terms of inducing anybody to do anything in that process,” Manfred said. “We stay in touch with the Dodgers, the Dodgers are very concerned and obviously want to have distribution, as do we, but we just don’t really have a seat at that table.”
Aside from the parties involved needing to agree on terms, an additional factor to consider is the pending mergers of TWC and Comcast, and AT&T and DirecTV. The AT&T and DirecTV merger has a March 23 deadline, while the TWC and Comcast merger has until March 30 to be approved or rejected by the FCC.
Once the mergers have been approved or rejected, it could open the door for negotiations to gain traction and a resolution to at last be reached.
Dodgers 2015 FanFest