world series ratings LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 25: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers licks his bat during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in game two of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Rob Manfred’s All Star press tour was notable for a few moments. But while the big stories may have been Manfred squashing the universal DH rumors and throwing Mike Trout under the bus in terms of marketability, Manfred also addressed one of the league’s worst ongoing broadcast situations.

Most people in the Los Angeles area are in the fifth year of what amounts to a blackout on Dodgers games thanks to a standoff between Charter Communications ( bought Time Warner Cable, the group that initially instigated the situation, and which offers Spectrum cable television) and DirecTV, which has so far refused to carry the SportsNet LA network.

MLB can’t be thrilled about the situation, although considering we’re in the fifth year of the standoff, it’s clearly a matter they don’t feel they can solve, at least unilaterally. Rob Manfred hinted as much when he addressed the topic.

Via Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times:

The league looked into the possibility of streaming SportsNet LA broadcasts throughout the Los Angeles market, perhaps on its service. However, the Dodgers’ record $8.35-billion television deal guarantees exclusive local broadcast rights to Charter Communications, not only for television but for streaming.

“They own those rights,” Manfred said. “You can’t just go in and ignore those local rights that belong to someone else. You’d have to figure out a way around it.”

So far, Manfred said, the league has been unable to resolve that issue with Charter, which carries the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA channel on its Spectrum service. Charter is one of a handful of regional sports networks that does not offer streaming of games, even to its cable subscribers.

Charter not even offering in-market streaming to its own providers feels like a bad sign for a willingness to be creative in ways to get Dodger games to people in Los Angeles. As Shaikin notes, the league will likely revisit the possibility, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an avenue for external pressure:

“We have explored two possible paths of influence,” Manfred said.

The first, he said, was to try to facilitate a deal between Charter and DirecTV.

DirecTV has resisted overtures from the league, the Dodgers and local politicians to agree to mediation or arbitration. DirecTV has not lost the critical mass of subscribers that would compel it to make a deal to carry SportsNet LA.

The streaming option was first explored last winter, Manfred said, and would be discussed again in the coming winter.

“We explored some alternatives with the interested parties that might have used some Major League Baseball assets to get greater distribution,” Manfred said. “Unfortunately, a lot of those creative ideas we have affect the balance of power or the economic situation of the distributor or the RSN.

“It’s difficult to convince people to go along with any of these creative ideas. But we will be back at it again during this off-season.”

That’s not quite Manfred throwing up his hands, but it also doesn’t sound like a deal is forthcoming. But hey, we’re only five years in, a period of time in which the Dodgers have won the NL West every year, made the World Series once, and said goodbye to Vin Scully, so it’s not like non-Spectrum fans in Los Angeles have missed much.

[Los Angeles Times]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.