Rep. Cárdenas: DOJ Dodgers Suit Against AT&T Is Troubling

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) , who has long pushed for carriage deals to restore Dodgers baseball, weighed in Wednesday on the news that the Justice Department is suing AT&T and DirecTV for alleged collusion that blocked carriage of Time Warner Cable's Dodgers Channel (AT&T says it will fight those allegations in court).

“The allegations made by the Department of Justice against AT&T and DirecTV are troubling. For three years, Dodgers games have been blacked out for everyone in Los Angeles except Charter/Time Warner Cable subscribers. Dodgers fans, and I include myself in that group, deserve to see their home team play. For the good of our Los Angeles baseball tradition, we must find a way to make sure these games are available for the fans who want to watch them at home.” The Dodgers Channel is still not carrier by Cox, AT&T or DirecTV.

In 2014, Cárdenas and some of his L.A. delegation colleagues wrote Wheeler asking him to mediate the stalemate between TWC and other operators, including Cox and Charter, who were cited for sharing information with DirecTV but not named as defendants in the suit.

Wheeler wrote Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus to register his concern. Marcus advised the FCC to widen its net to look at DirecTV and other distributors for why a deal had not been done. Clearly DOJ did just that.

The DOJ suit was announced by Jonathan Sallet, currently with Justice's antitrust division but until recently FCC general counsel.

Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA in February, but a number of distributors complained about the price — some reports put is as high as $4 per sub per month — especially when combined with three other RSNs in the market (Prime Ticket, Fox Sports LA and Time Warner Cable SportsNet) and aren't taking the network.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.