Magic Is Right: Dodgers Aren’t Hurt One Bit By SportsNet LA Impasse

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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I planned to open this column with a witty remark about how well the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing, followed by some version of a “Or so I’m told, because I haven’t seen the games” punchline. Then I changed course.

After a season and change’s worth of roadblock between Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and the Dodgers, which has kept the Blue off television for roughly 70 percent of the Los Angeles market (including yours truly), there are only so many ways to spin the same joke. Moreover, with no end in sight, I’m not sure fans appreciate gallows humor anymore.

For that matter, they likely don’t appreciate minority owner Magic Johnson’s response last week when asked by the L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin if the Dodgers’ brand has been damaged.

“No, it’s not hurting us,” Johnson said. “But we want to be on TV. You know that.”

Magic is nothing if not a sharp businessman. It’s impossible to argue that having your professional sports team on television isn’t the better scenario. But based on the front office’s actions — or lack thereof — throughout this saga, there’s a limit to what they’ll do to get the Dodgers back on TV, because there are options.

They could give back some money to Time Warner to soften the company’s bottom line and potentially grease the wheels for a compromise. They could enthusiastically encourage (if not demand) TWC allow some games to be carried on local TV, as they did last season. They could, at the very least, appear publicly pissed off.

Instead, they’ve largely stationed themselves outside the fray. Any sense of urgency from ownership is pretty much non-existent. And that’s because Magic is 100 percent right. The Dodgers’ brand hasn’t suffered in the slightest over this fiasco.

Even worse, unless this standoff lasts several more years, the organization is absolutely safeguarded against true damage, because Dodger fans are too good for their own good when it comes to this particular mess.

CONTINUE READING: Loyalty Of Dodgers Fans A Double-Edged Sword

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  1. Adam, in this article you mention fans sending angry emails to Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, etc… I’ve tried to find out how to get the email addresses of Dodger executives, not to send angry emails but to share a couple of marketing/media/fan experience ideas I have. I finally just posted my ideas through the “contact” section on the Dodgers’ website but I honestly believe my comments don’t get seen or if they do they don’t get the right eyes on them and get trashed immediately. They are really great ideas. How does someone find the emails of Dodger’ executives. I don’t want my ideas filtered by someone who gets paid to filter and sort the “comments” page. Thanks, Jim G.

  2. There are so many technological workarounds, I think there are more people than TWC or the Dodgers even know are watching the games, including myself, without having TWC in my house! The internet has brought a different angle compared to when other cities couldn’t watch their teams. I’ll still go to Dodgers home games mainly because I can watch them on TV with no issue and no TWC.

    One day, they will realize how stupid this is and will agree to a deal. The ones that should revolt are the sports bars and restaurants that are losing business because they can’t show Dodgers home or away games! That would make a bigger impact than the average fan. Thanks…Dwayne

  3. Try [email protected] or ladodgers.com,and see if your email gets through to the power mongers. I’ve said that all along that if the fans don’t show their disapproval,and attend games at a record clip, the Dodgers aren’t suffering at all !

  4. You know who I feel sorry for? How about those naive advertizers on LASportNet who are paying full price for ads that at least 70% of Dodger fans are not seeing? They should wake up, demand a refund and cancel altogether. Dodger fans would think higher of you! There is no Magic in Dodgertown – just GREED.

  5. I really do not understand this BS at all. LA is the capital city of TV, and broadcasting, and these cable companies are like greedy oil companies!! It is complete BS!!! Why has the MLB not stepped in on this? Why are other cable providers not allowing games to be televised, and or why have they not set up a partnership with other providers? Why don’t other MLB teams in California have this problem, and if its about money and being the best, and acquiring players well I sure don’t see other MLB teams in California having a problem with that, nor do I see it as problem for them to win World Championships…ie the Giants!! Greedy assholes period!!!

  6. Why all the crying Dodger fans? I was banished to Kansas several years ago and haven’t missed a Dodger game yet. Pony up and buy a subscription to MLB.com. Life is good.

  7. Ken Mueller, I would pay for MLB.com in a heartbeat, but local games are blacked out. MLB has the authority to make this change, but I don’t see that happening any time soon! Baseball is a business and to hell with the fans! Magic Johnson just said it “nicer”. I pay for MLB.com at Bat so I can listen to the games, but quite frankly the last 3 I turned off. Leave a pitcher in to load the bases. And don’t use the same lineup that won 6 games in a row????? Stupid and Frustrating!!! Not sure I even want to watch them on TV any more. I certainly don’t have my usual yearning to go see a game. SAD!!!!!

  8. I beg to differ. it’s ignorant. being in oc my little league team last year was 6 dodger fans and 5 angel fans. this year it is 10 angel fans and 1 dodger fan. we just want to watch baseball the kids say. there’re no Puig Jerseys down here, no Kershaw..all trout and pujols. it wasn’t like that 2 years ago. not at all. I am a diehard and even I m having a hard time caring and I have been a fan for 30 years. it’s hard to identify with things u don’t see.

  9. This TV deal situation to me is a bad bad thing, I don’t care what Magic
    Johnson thinks about this not hurting the Dodgers brand, which i can’t
    believe he said by the way, talk about not thinking before you speak,
    with a young superstar who Is the face of MLB today just up the fwy in
    Anaheim and can be seen on TV every game, what do you think is gonna
    happen, today’s younger generation may like baseball but they didn’t
    grow up playing baseball in the streets all day everyday
    till the Sun went down live and breathe it like my generation did, they
    had and have even more today to many other High tech toys and Options,
    if you ask me, if they can’t watch the dodgers they will just move on to
    other things, there goes the future fan base, they better fix this and
    stop sweeping it under the rug like nothing’s wrong, they are not seeing
    the whole big picture, the ramifications could be very bad, I’m just

  10. TWC, Direct TV only have a responsibility to their shareholders. Guggenheim Partners is the sole steward of Dodger Fans and they are who Dodger Fans should hold accountable. And Magic is a (dinky less than 1% minor insignificant face and mouthpiece) owner of the Dodgers. Mark Walter runs the Dodgers and Magic answers to him. And Mark Walter answers to his company owner Mr. Schwartz. Dodger fans appear to be unimportant to all entities… including Guggenheim Partners. Focus people.

  11. The only way to turn this around is to do what we did when we got mccourt booted, we as a fan base need to boycot the games and in this case we need to ask of our brother fans that have TWC to cancel subscribtions and join us to full victory! They are declining us the last years of Vin and that in itself is a crime.

  12. Spot on, Andy. TV or no TV, there are ways to stay up with what the team is doing because of the Internet. I get updates on Facebook because I can join several Facebook groups for free that keep me posted. It’s not as good a seeing it live, but the updates often include video clips of the action. Nothing replaces actually attending a game in Dodger Stadium anyway – even TV. Go Blue Machine!

  13. Nobody … NOBODY … is irreplaceable. Even the vaunted Dodgers can become ho-hum. Damage is being done to the Dodger brand and even Mr. 1%, though he says otherwise, knows that. There’s always someone waiting in the wings to take over the top spot.

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