As the DirecTV/SportsNet LA dispute drags on into its third year, a California-based Congresswoman was hoping to get DirecTV and SportsNet LA operator Time Warner Cable to the table. However, DirecTV didn’t bother to show up and left TWC holding the bag. Representative Janice Hahn invited representatives from both companies to meet in her office, but the talks never materialized meaning that DirecTV’s owner, AT&T is in no rush to get the channel up and running on the satellite provider’s systems.
Hahn said she was disappointed that AT&T wouldn’t show up. Time Warner Cable accepted Hahn’s invitation and said it would meet with DirecTV with or without her present. But the point was moot when DirecTV failed to appear.
AT&T/DirecTV hasn’t been happy with Time Warner Cable ever since it revealed in March that it had offered to lower the subscriber fees for SportsNet LA. The company feels the offers and the acceptance of the meeting is more public posturing than a sincere willing to take action to get the channel on its lineup.
And it could also be DirecTV’s unwillingness to negotiate with Time Warner Cable while waiting for Charter Communications to take over TWC. The sale of TWC to Charter has been approved by the Feds and the deal is expected to close sometime this month. At that time, Charter becomes responsible for negotiating for SportsNet LA.
SportsNet LA’s subscriber fees are among the highest for an RSN especially a network that has the Dodgers and really nothing else for programming. Pay TV providers in Southern California except for Time Warner and Charter have opted not to carry SportsNet LA over its cost. And that has kept the team away from most of the Los Angeles market since 2014.
In a letter to Representative Hahn, DirecTV complained about bringing in a politician to solve the impasse:
“We continue to stand ready to engage with TWC in good-faith negotiations to resolve this dispute when TWC agrees to conduct the negotiations in a professional manner consistent with industry practice of respecting the privacy and confidentiality of those discussions.”
Of course, a Time Warner Cable spokesman fired back a response:
‘This is yet another example of AT&T/DirecTV’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith,” he said. “So far, AT&T/DirecTV has rejected every offer, every compromise, and every neutral negotiating forum like arbitration or a meeting with the congresswoman.”
All this does is leave fans in the middle hoping for some type of solution, but have remained disappointed since this whole thing began.
[Los Angeles Times]