Time Warner Cable claims DIRECTV has no intention of providing the Dodgers this season and has, in fact, walked away from any further negotiations. Is that true?
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, DIRECTV wants to resolve this situation on behalf of all the most loyal Dodger fans who should never have had Time Warner Cable come between them and their favorite team in the first place.
Their recent statements are a desperate attempt to try to lure away DIRECTV customers who are Dodger fans to try and force everyone living throughout Los Angeles to pay for their own $8.35 billion excesses. The Dodgers’ money is guaranteed, meaning Time Warner Cable is now on the hook for making good on that outlay.
We continue to receive an incredible amount of support from customers who understand what we are trying to do and are sticking with DIRECTV to make their voice heard. It’s regrettable but also pretty easy to see why Time Warner Cable will try anything – and more importantly, say anything – to ensure everyone pays for their mistakes before they do.
What other cable or satellite providers are offering SportsNet LA?
None. With the one exception of Time Warner Cable, of course, and BrightHouse Networks, which relies upon Time Warner Cable to purchase the channels it offers to customers. Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers are currently not available to nearly 70 percent of the people living in the immediate region including many of the most loyal fans who still hope to see them.
If I already have Time Warner Cable SportsNet on my DIRECTV service, will I get all of this season’s Dodger games too?
No, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA are two entirely different channels. Time Warner Cable bought the telecast rights to a Los Angeles pro baseball and basketball team and, even though such teams share a channel in virtually every other market, TWC wants a full-time network for each.
Does DIRECTV plan to offer SportsNet LA?
We prefer to keep providing Dodger games, but at a price that is reasonable to the many different families living not only within metro Los Angeles, but also those in Central California, Nevada and even Hawaii. If this expensive trend of new one-team RSN’s continues, customers should have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to pay for these high-priced games.
What would be the simplest solution to allow the fans that want to see their Dodgers games to get them?
Time Warner Cable should embrace the same solution it proposed last summer during its CBS blackout – let everyone decide for themselves whether they want to pay for the channel or not. We agree and believe it is the most reasonable solution for all customers: diehard Dodger fans who should be rewarded for loyalty, casual fans, people who don’t watch sports at all and anyone in between.
What do you say to diehard Dodger fans willing to pay whatever it takes to receive this channel?
You should have the simple freedom to choose whether to subscribe to this premium channel. We have asked Time Warner Cable to give you that option, but so far, neither the Dodgers nor Time Warner Cable are willing to consider it. Fans have a right to know why and they should be able to demand it of Time Warner Cable.
If DIRECTV does not have an agreement with SportsNet LA soon, is there another way I can still see games? Can I see them online?
Fox Sports and ESPN plan to cover the Dodgers throughout the season, with at least a few games during the first couple weeks and others to follow. DIRECTV customers will still be able to see those games no matter what. The games will not be available locally through MLB’s online product, MLB.TV.
Can I get Dodgers games locally by purchasing MLB EXTRA INNINGS?
No. If you live in Los Angeles, Central California, Nevada or Hawaii, you are in what’s known as the “team territory” and cannot get Dodgers games by supplementing your DIRECTV subscription with the MLB Extra Innings add-on. The MLB Extra Innings package is an out-of-market sports subscription service, and only offers games outside the Dodgers’ local team territory. If you live anywhere outside team territory (anywhere other than the places listed above) you may see the Dodgers games by purchasing the MLB Extra Innings package for an additional fee.
Since I used to be able to watch many Dodger games free over the air on my local channels, can I still see some of those games?
Unfortunately no. For decades, the Dodgers cared about all their fans and were one of only a few MLB teams to keep about a third of their games on broadcast television so the entire local community could see them. Now, nearly all of the Dodger games are exclusive to SportsNet LA.
Who is to blame for taking my away my access to free over the air games?
Unfortunately more teams and conferences are looking to cash in on the enormous sums being paid for television rights by starting their own networks. It’s a growing and disturbing trend in both professional and college sports that is bargaining away fans’ access to games.
The Dodgers, who own 100 percent of SportsNet LA, struck a reported $8.35 billion, 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable to distribute and operate the network, and they want DIRECTV and all of the other distributors’ all cable and satellite customers to now pay for it, whether they watch Dodgers games or not.
Time Warner Cable is reportedly paying at least $210 million to offer the Dodgers this season– a figure that will grow considerably over the life of the contract. KCAL and Prime Ticket paid the Dodgers only about $50 million combined for the same games last year.
Why does DIRECTV want to offer Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA a la carte when none of the other MLB teams appear on networks offered in the same fashion?
Time Warner Cable has changed the game for these sorts of networks by paying an all-time-high $8.35 billion to remove Dodgers games from free, over-the-air and basic television and then demanding every customer now pay a record premium to get them back. Offering Regional Sports networks (RSNs) as a basic option really only works when the price is reasonable for everyone. Since TWC has priced this one-team RSN even higher than ones with extra teams and games all year round, everyone has to adjust accordingly and only customers who want such a premium channel should be the ones to pay for it.
Time Warner Cable says they¹re offering a fair price similar to what other regional sports networks charge, including the one DIRECTV operates in Seattle. Is that true?
Not true at all. SportsNet LA is by far the single most expensive single team regional sports network in the country. When DIRECTV completed its new deal with the Mariners a year ago there were no dramatic double or triple price increases and no disputes or PR battles with distributors who have since renewed their agreements. And to take it a step further, the Mariners have higher television ratings than the Dodgers. And the network that carries the Mariners has much more live game programming than SportsNet LA including Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Mountain West football and basketball, WCC/Gonzaga basketball, Big Sky football, ACC basketball, Big 12 football and basketball.
Time Warner Cable said that DIRECTV is already paying more to televise other individual MLB teams in cities smaller than Los Angeles, so why won’t it offer SportsNet LA?
We aren’t. The Dodgers are the single most expensive team. Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA is also the only regional sports network that has actual games for only half the year rather than others who compete year-round.
Is DIRECTV concerned that a one-team RSN will lose value if the franchise hits a rough patch?
Yes. Take the LA Lakers and the Time Warner Cable SportsNet channel as an example. TWC forced all DIRECTV customers to pay for this one team RSN. The Lakers are having a tough season and ratings are down 50 percent, yet all customers are stuck paying record fees for that channel.
Why is DIRECTV balking at paying for SportsNet LA when it is less expensive than ESPN, which DIRECTV offers to everyone?
The two networks are not even in the same ballpark no matter how you compare. SportsNet LA is a one-team, one-sport network that has actual games only six months out of the year. ESPN has the most diverse and popular year-round sports programming and includes the NFL’s Monday Night Football; MLB; NBA (The Finals on ABC); Grand Slam golf and tennis; NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA, as well as college football including nearly the entire bowl game schedule and national championship; men’s and women’s college basketball, and more.