If you’re a Dodgers fan in Los Angeles, watching the club was a chore in 2014 because of DirecTV’s refusal to pick up their new SportsNet LA RSN. And unfortunately for those Dodgers fans with DirecTV, you might not be seeing the team much in 2015 either. DirecTV doesn’t seem very keen on picking up SportsNet LA in the near future, as this brief quote from DirecTV CFO Pay Doyle in an article from The Hollywood Reporter indicates.
Doyle also discussed network carriage disputes, citing sports and independent networks as the most likely channels to be dropped by DirecTV. Time Warner Cable’s L.A. Dodgers channel was “uneconomical for us,” he said. “We see very little downside [to not carrying such networks]. Churn was negligible.” He added: “I think you will see more of that.
Sorry, Dodgers fans.
It’s really a shame – every year behind the mic could be Vin Scully’s last, the Dodgers have assembled a talented, entertaining, contending team, and that’s still not enough for DirecTV. SportsNet LA obviously won’t be going away any time soon, but it doesn’t sound like DirecTV is close to breaking. If Time Warner really wants their network to gain more carriage in Los Angeles, they might need to swallow their pride and accept what they feel is a below market deal. Or they could keep holding out for the deal they want, which would just keep everyone upset.
I think Doyle’s quote indicates that there could be trouble brewing for other RSNs when their time for renegotiation is up. If you’re a pro sports team that doesn’t draw great local ratings, you’d better hope that you’ve got another team airing on your RSN to serve as an anchor, or things might get a lot worse for you in the future.