Charter Communications and AT&T have finally reached an agreement on the latter’s carriage of regional sports network SportsNet LA, breaking an impasse that started in 2014.
Spectrum SportsNet LA is the exclusive RSN home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal, terms of which weren’t described, has already brought SportsNet LA to not only DirecTV, the second most distributed pay TV service in Southern California, but also AT&T’s new IP-based pay TV platform, AT&T TV. Legacy IPTV service U-verse will also get the channel, as will AT&T’s marginalized virtual pay TV service, AT&T TV Now, starting April 8.
SportsNet LA was launched at the beginning of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the result of a 25-year, $8.35 billion deal carved out by the erstwhile Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers organization. Right off the bat, TWC and DirecTV came to loggerheads over carriage of the new channel. Charter’s subsequent purchase of TWC, and AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, didn’t change the dynamic … until now.
With news circulating among Dodgers fans in the L.A. region, many wondered if it was an April Fool’s gag—timed conspicuously to an MLB season with a start indefinitely delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Charter press release seems to confirm the authenticity of the news, however.
“This agreement underscores our commitment to provide all Dodgers fans the opportunity to enjoy our award-winning programming and live game coverage,” said Dan Finnerty, senior VP of Spectrum Networks, in the statement. “Working together with AT&T, we were able to reach an agreement to offer the region’s most popular teams to local fans across AT&T’s video platforms.”
Indeed, for the bulk of a seven-year string of consecutive National League West championships, not to mention two World Series *appearances, the Dodgers have remained unaccessible on television to a large portion of the local fanbase. (Astros fans: You know what the asterisk is for.)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti added: “Our city has the best sports fans in the world, and they want to enjoy all of the excitement and tradition that Dodger games bring to Los Angeles. I’m very pleased that Spectrum Sports and AT&T have reached this agreement, which will bring Dodger games into the homes of AT&T TV, DirecTV, U-verse TV and AT&T TV Now customers when the season begins and give more Angelenos the chance to cheer for our favorite team all the way to the World Series."
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