DirecTV to carry Dodgers games on SportsNet LA

Los Angeles Dodgers television broadcast team (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers television broadcast team (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Whenever the Los Angeles Dodgers return to the field in 2020, AT&T customers will finally be able to watch their games on SportsNet LA.

After six long seasons, the Dodgers will finally be available to Southern California homes with AT&T subscriptions. According to Ramona Shelburne, a deal has been reached between Spectrum and AT&T to broadcast the Dodgers-controlled network in 2020, with it already appearing on channel 690 this morning. The deal was officially announced shortly after Shelburne’s initial report.

With Major League Baseball considering the option of playing in front of empty stadiums this season, while this hasn’t been reported, it would seem logical to believe there is newfound urgency for local broadcast rights negotiations to be settled in time for people to be able to watch the games while stuck at home.

The Dodgers and Time Warner Cable (now known as Spectrum SportsNet)  signed a record-setting $8.35 billion deal in 2013 to create Sportsnet LA, the exclusive home of Dodgers baseball. The channel has been in production since 2014, but has failed to reach Dodgers fans on several cable and satellite providers. The network is jointly owned by the Dodgers and Charter Communications through the merger of Time Warner Cable in 2016.

As more TV viewers are moving to streaming options, blackout rules have prevented fans local to the Los Angeles area from seeing Dodgers baseball. Fox Business reported in December that Major League Baseball will allow each of its 30 teams to sell their own streaming deals in local markets ahead of the 2020 season. This would pave the way for Sportsnet LA to reach fans via alternative streaming platforms in the future. However, many fans still access sports through traditional cable and satellite packages.

DirecTV is in the midst of a personality change, as it recently rolled out a streaming service of their own, re-branded as AT&T TV, and it seems only a matter of time before dishes are completely removed from circulation.

The deal puts SportsNet LA on the traditional satellite service, DirecTV, as well as U-Verse TV, and streaming options AT&T TV and AT&T Now. It becomes a regional sports network available to subscribers in the Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Hawaii areas.

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While this is great news for many Dodgers fans, we are still left without baseball to watch as the season remains on hold in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, SportsNet LA has been airing classic games, so fans can pass the time listening to the familiar voice of Vin Scully.