With the Los Angeles Dodgers officially beginning Spring Training and Opening Day just six short weeks away, the time for providers to come to terms on distribution rights for Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA is dwindling.
Last season, TWC struck deals with Bright House Networks and Champion Broadband, while DirecTV, Dish Network and others shut the door on them. As Spring Training games and a new season draw closer, DirecTV issued a statement regarding the ongoing impasse, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
Last season ended on an encouraging note with Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers allowing everyone to see the final games on a local independent station,” DirecTV said in a statement Thursday. “As Dodger teammates begin reporting to spring training, we’re optimistic the same goodwill can carry over to this new MLB season and remain hopeful we can achieve a compromise with Time Warner Cable and the Dodger front office to satisfy loyal fans who deserve to see their team contend for another NL West title.”
As the 2014 season wore on without more deals in place, TWC said they were willing to enter binding arbitration with DirecTV, but the cable-satellite provider rejected their offer. For the final week of the regular season, TWC made a good-faith decision to broadcast the remaining six games of the season over the air on KDOC — a station available to consumers no matter their cable provider and via antenna.
While getting deals in place by March 4, the date of the Dodgers’ first Spring Training game, would certainly be welcomed, Opening Day (April 6) is a much more important deadline. However, how feasible that is may be dependent on the pending mergers of AT&T with DirecTV and Comcast with TWC.
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten expressed optimism a resolution would be reached by Opening Day, and if that’s to be the case, it appears as though it’ll come without aid from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
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