This is not a new issue: when the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable launched SportNet LA, only Time Warner Cable offering Dodgers games to its customers. The assumption was that fans would demand Dodgers be added to their cable and satellite systems, but firms like DirecTV have been resolute in their desire to not pay full freight for SportsNet LA.
Since then, Time Warner Cable has become Charter Spectrum after a buyout and added more customers, becoming the #1 cable provider in the region. But that’s not caused DirecTV and smaller providers to reverse their boycott of SportsNet LA, even though the cable network has lowered its asking price. Th0ugh you would assume the Dodgers and Charter Spectrum would be eager to strike a deal to expand the SportsNet LA reach, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. From the Wall Street Journal:
The upshot is that there is little impetus to fix the situation. The organization is doing fine: The Dodgers get paid under the SportsNet LA deal regardless. The team’s average home attendance of more than 45,000 leads MLB for the fifth straight year, and its player payroll of close to $250 million is the highest in the sport.
But the absence of Dodgers broadcasts isn’t hurting DirecTV and others enough to make them desperate to strike a deal. One person familiar with the negotiations said that Time Warner offered the channel to other providers at a reduced rate before the 2016 season, adding that DirecTV hasn’t consented to a meeting “at any price” since April 2014. AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, declined to comment.
The Dodgers are baseball’s best draw and on pace to win 113 games, the most since the 1906 Chicago Cubs. Too bad more fans can’t share in the excitement.