TWC Makes Dodgers Games Available on Broadcast

Broadcast and MVPD viewers will get to see the last six games of the Dodgers season, according to Time Warner Cable, which said Monday it had struck a deal with L.A. independent KDOC to air the games.

The Dodgers games have been airing on TWC's SportsNet LA, where they will continue to air. But they have been off various MVPD's there unwilling to agree to the regional sports net's carriage terms.

In an interview with B&C/Multi, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week urged TWC and those MVPD's to put aside their differences and let viewers see the final games, which TWC appears to have engineered without striking a deal. TWC points out that KDOC is available on Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and Dish.

“Right now, we can’t change the fact that other area TV distributors won’t carry the channel, but we don’t want anyone to miss this exciting pennant run,” Dinni Jain, Time Warner Cable’s COO, said in a statement. We hope everyone will tune in to KDOC and help us cheer on the Dodgers. We will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers in the off season.”

"Time Warner Cable has worked hard to get other providers to carry SportsNet LA so all fans will have access to games," he said. "The company even agreed to enter into binding arbitration to secure a deal and offered to make games available during arbitration. Unfortunately, other providers have refused."

"This is like sending in your starting pitcher in the 9th inning when you're down 10 runs: Too little too late," said David Goodfriend, chairman of the Sports Fans Coalition. "Time Warner Cable already has denied millions of Dodgers fans almost an entire season and the company will do it again next year unless something big happens.  Here's an idea:  no government action on the pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger until anyone in Southern California who wants to see the Dodgers games on TV can do so.  No Dodgers, no merger.  Period."

“I’m pleased that now all Dodger fans will be able to join the excitement of watching the final regular season games in advance of the playoff race," said FCC Chairman Tom wheeler. "The leadership of Representative Cárdenas and Mayor [Eric] Garcetti kept this issue in the forefront and the FCC will continue to go to bat for consumers in resolving programming disputes.  We hope that long-term agreements will be the next step and can be achieved quickly without depriving fans of any regular season games next year.”

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.