Dodgers’ TV Deal is the Worst Part of This Season

EL SEGUNDO, CA - FEBRUARY 25: A general view of the atmosphere at the launch of SportsNet LA on February 25, 2014 in El Segundo, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for SportsNet LA)
EL SEGUNDO, CA - FEBRUARY 25: A general view of the atmosphere at the launch of SportsNet LA on February 25, 2014 in El Segundo, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for SportsNet LA) /

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball and one of their best teams since their last World Series titles, but there’s still a black cloud over the season.

They’ve had unexpected breakouts from players like Chris Taylor and Alex Wood. They’ve had multiple exhilarating come from behind victories. They’ve gone on a streak of 30 wins in 34 games. You may know these facts, but, because of the Dodgers‘ TV deal, you might not have got to watch them.

Back in 2013, the Dodgers reached a 25-year $8.8 billion deal with Time Warner Cable to broadcast Spectrum SportsNet LA, a place for all your Dodgers’ programming needs. The issue with this is that Spectrum customers (formerly TWC) and Charter customers are the only beneficiaries of this deal as their TV providers are the only carriers of the channel.

For the past few seasons, fans of the Dodgers have been up in arms about their inability to watch their team, and this year may be the tipping point. This team is extraordinary and full of great players as well as characters. The worst part of it is that there doesn’t seem to be a solution coming soon. Just listen to what commissioner Rob Manfred said about the deal on July 11th.

"“It’s not my job to tell a club to renegotiate its television agreements,” Manfred said. “I think the much more productive course, and we have pursued this course, is to try to work with the parties who actually have an economic interest here.”"

While it is very depressing that the commissioner doesn’t see a need to step in and help with the deal, he is right in saying it’s not his job. In my opinion, this lands on two parties: Guggenheim Partners and the various cable companies.

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Some of the burden lands on Guggenheim simply because they have some control over the situation. If they really wanted to, they could cut a deal to get Spectrum to reach an agreement with other companies.

While that is all easy to say, giving up any amount of money is not how billionaires do business. Don’t expect any movement from the ownership group, despite the fans that cannot watch their team.

A majority of the blame here lands on Spectrum TV and their unwillingness to come to an agreement with other major companies such as DirecTV and Verizon. In an article by my colleague Ryan Vargas, he stated that the asking price per subscriber was $5, which may not seem like a big amount, but larger than what customers pay for the Lakers’ channel at $3.95.

There has been some attempted progress, as AT&T tried to file a lawsuit against Time Warner, but has had little effect since the suit was settled. There has also been some progress as ten games have been chosen to be simulcast on KTLA. All in all, there have been some advancements, but there are still many fans left without their Dodgers.

I understand the frustration with the TV deal as it does become a pain to have to stream the games on various websites. I would much rather be able to turn on my television and watch the game on there. After all, the only reason most of us still carry cable is for live sports, and if we can’t even do that, cable might actually be dead.

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Dodgers nation I feel your pain. While it may be awesome to see your team’s highlights on Twitter or the ESPN app, there’s nothing like consuming a baseball game in its entirety. This team has been so good this season that the low point of them has had nothing to do with baseball. That’s a problem that needs to be fixed sooner, rather than later.