The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Justice Department and AT&T are talking settlement on a case that alleged DirecTV colluded to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers’ network off the major pay TV providers in Southern California. But the kicker is that the end result will not require DirecTV to pick up Spectrum SportsNet LA.
A settlement could be forthcoming within the next couple of weeks, but without DirecTV carrying Spectrum SportsNet LA, it will ring hollow to Dodgers fans who have been waiting for four years for AT&T U-Verse, its corporate sister DirecTV and Verizon to carry the network.
AT&T isn’t commenting on the matter. The Justice Department sued AT&T and DirecTV back in November charging that the company colluded with other pay TV providers in refusing to carry the Dodgers regional cable network. SportsNet LA began operation in 2014 and when Charter Communications purchased Time Warner, it rebranded the channel to Spectrum SportsNet LA.
DirecTV has 1.5 million subscribers in Los Angeles making it the second-largest pay TV provider in the market. By continuing to block Spectrum SportsNet, fan frustration continues to grow.
The Dodgers signed a deal with Time Warner for 25-years totaling $8.35 billion. But a change in ownership didn’t end the carriage dispute and neither will the upcoming settlement.
So what will it take to end the statemate? DirecTV has shown a willingness to draw a line in the sand and dig in its heels. We’ve seen it with Pac-12 Network and Spectrum SportsNet LA. Neither appear to be anywhere close to being carried.
Charter remains the only pay TV provider to carry the network and this week, the Dodgers made a deal with over the air channel KTLA to air 10 games in April and May. But there’s no end in sight to the Dodgers blackout on DirecTV and other providers in the market.