The Los Angeles Dodgers are 10 days away from taking the field for the first game of the regular season and the extent to the number of fans who will be able to watch them face the San Diego Padres remains a question mark.
It was reported Time Warner Cable recently engaged in negotiations with other pay-TV providers to distribute SportsNet LA, but to this point they appear to have been rebuffed. The feel-good story of the Dodgers having their own network turned sour last season as Charter Communications, DirecTV and a slew of others, were unable to come to terms with TWC.
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said at the Winter Meetings he believed SportsNet LA would be more widely available come Opening Day, which now appears to be a long shot. As the impasse continues to linger on, Kasten expressed his remorse over the situation, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
How many times can I tell people how bad I feel? Yeah, I feel terrible about it,” Kasten said Wednesday. “It’s the single biggest customer problem I’ve had in my whole career – and the one we’ve spent the most time on.”
As for whether he may regret the record-setting, 25-year, $8.35 billion deal with TWC, Kasten said he does not:
No, because this is such a good deal for the franchise, it has enabled so many good things to happen and will for the next several decades,” he said. “I don’t think we could have foreseen what has happened. I don’t think we could have foreseen two mergers simultaneously from the two biggest providers, that both would be acquired by someone else – no one saw that or knew that at the time.”
The mergers Kasten touches on are of AT&T and DirecTV, and Comcast merging with TWC. General consensus has held they needed to be completed in order for significant progress in talks for SportsNet LA carriage to be made.
Should that be true, news of the FCC recently delaying their decision on Comcast taking control of TWC doesn’t bode well. After DirecTV refused to enter binding arbitration, TWC made the final six regular-season games available on KDOC, an independent station that is carried by all providers in Southern California and can be received with an over the air antenna.
TWC presumably would be willing to once more take matters into their own hands in order to reach a larger audience this season, though hope remains deals will soon fall into place.
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