We’re already well into the fourth season of an extended dispute between Spectrum SportsNet and the major pay TV providers in Southern California. It’s kept the Los Angeles Dodgers from being seen on AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish and Verizon. Even a federal lawsuit against DirecTV failed to force the satellite provider from picking up the network.
DirecTV has long maintained that the subscriber fee for Spectrum SportsNet is way too high. When SportsNet LA was under Time Warner Cable’s operation, the price was lowered, but not to DirecTV’s liking.
And since SportsNet LA launched, Time Warner Cable was purchased by Charter Communications and DirecTV was bought by AT&T, but even under new ownership, it hasn’t ended the dispute. In fact, it appears that the two sides haven’t held talks for quite some time.
Before Charter took over SportsNet LA and added “Spectrum” to the brand, Time Warner Cable admitted failure in not getting more pay TV providers to pick up the channel.
The Dodgers have won the National League West in the three previous seasons, yet for much of LA, fans haven’t been able to watch. The Los Angeles Times says average availability for Dodgers games this season on Spectrum SportsNet LA has been 79,000 households. When ten games were simulcast on KTLA earlier this season, that availability went up to 378,000 households.
There aren’t any plans to simulcast more games so once again, fans who don’t have Spectrum subscriptions are out of luck.
The dispute has not led to massive defections by DirecTV subscribers to go to Spectrum, so there’s no incentive to pick up the channel. And as long as this holds, the blackout of Dodgers games in Los Angeles will continue.