The Los Angeles Dodgers won a second-consecutive National League West division title last season, but plenty of fans were left in the dark as pay-TV providers failed to agree to carriage terms with Time Warner Cable for SportsNet LA, the exclusive home of the Dodgers.
With the Dodgers well into their Cactus League schedule and Opening Day rapidly approaching, the impasse lingers on. However, according to Ronald Grover of The Street, TWC reportedly is in talks with other providers to distribute SportsNet LA:
Time Warner Cable, the country’s second-largest cable-TV operator, has begun talking with other pay-TV distributors in Los Angeles about ending an impasse to carry the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA, which has been unavailable to most of the nation’s second-largest market for more than a year.
SportsNet LA stated they were willing to enter into binding arbitration with DirecTV, which likely would’ve led to additional deals being struck with other providers, but the cable-satellite company refused.
DirecTV recently released a statement expressing hope that an agreement would soon fall into place. It came months after Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said during the Winter Meetings he believed SportsNet LA would be widely distributed come April 6 — when the Dodgers begin their regular-season schedule.
There’s been a general assumption pending mergers of AT&T with DirecTV and Comcast with TWC needed to be completed in order for significant progress in talks to be made. Should that be true, news of the FCC delaying their decision on Comcast taking control of TWC doesn’t bode well.
With the Dodgers locked in a pennant race down the stretch of last season, 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.
Reaching a resolution will have to come without the aid of the commissioner’s office as Rob Manfred said in mid-February he wouldn’t be getting involved.
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