Charter customers may get access to Sports Net LA, but the other TV providers show no signs of budging on their stances.
Despite widespread celebration when Comcast’s bid for Time Warner Cable fell apart under regulatory scrutiny, one group was less than pleased with the news: LA Dodgers fans. Over 30% of the Los Angeles area cannot view the Dodgers on TV because of their TV deal with Time Warner Cable. After plunking down $8 billion, Time Warner had hoped to pass on that exorbitant cost to the area’s other TV providers, charging them over $5 per subscriber for the channel carrying the games. But when the other TV providers, including Charter, balked at that price, it became a bitter stalemate, resulting in most of the city being unable to watch their favorite baseball team. LA Dodgers fans may not be big fans of Comcast, the perhaps the most hated company in the nation, but there were hopes that the cable mega-merger would create a company with enough leverage to break the current impasse, getting the Dodgers back on the air city-wide. When the merger was off the table, hope for such a resolution seemed lost, as the Dodgers played through a second season that most fans couldn’t watch.
Now with a new merger in the works, this time between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, many LA residents could soon see the Dodgers on TV again. Charter is one of the cable companies serving the LA area that rejected the pricey channel from Time Warner. Now that the two companies are soon to become one, Charter has announced that its current customers will soon be getting access to the channel. Unfortunately, however, customers of the area’s other TV providers, including Cox, AT&T, DirecTV, and Dish Network, are still out of luck for the time being. While the newly created company resulting from Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable will be larger, that likely won’t help mitigate the challenges stemming from the high price Time Warner Cable paid the Dodgers in their TV deal.