The Los Angeles Dodgers played 21 spring training games and five regular season games thus far, but thousands of fans in the greater Los Angeles area have been unable to watch most of the action. The Dodgers’ network, SportsNet LA, which was formed in partnership with Time Warner Cable, is currently available to Bright House Networks, Champion Broadband and TWC customers only.
TWC remains at odds with several other cable carriers including, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS, among others. TWC’s executive vice president and chief video and content officer Melinda Witmer said on Thursday DirecTV is no longer negotiating with TWC for the rights to carry SportsNet LA. According to Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, TWC’s is believed to be asking at least $4 a subscriber, per month with increases as the deal progresses. While that may be a point of contention with DirecTV and others, Witmer believes the terms are fair, according to Flint:
Witmer said the terms are fair and fall behind what Time Warner Cable pays for the Fox-owned YES Network in New York, which carries the Yankees, a Pittsburgh network that DirecTV owns that is home to the Pirates and a Fox-owned channel in San Diego that has the Padres.
Witmer’s claims indicate TWC customers who wish access any of the regional sports networks outlined above, pay more than the company’s asking price for SportsNet LA. If Witmer is correct, it suggests DirecTV customers are paying more to watch the San Diego Padres than what TWC is reportedly seeking for the Dodgers’ network.
DirecTV and TWC went through similar negotiations when the Los Angeles Lakers launched their network, TWC SportsNet. A deal was eventually struck between the two companies, but not until the Lakers season had already begun. While the latest reports have DirecTV and TWC clearly at odds, it is likely a deal will eventually be agreed upon. However, it may be a drawn out process, which in the meantime leaves fans without many options.
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