Six years ago, the Dodgers launched SportsNet LA in partnership with what was then Time Warner. The only problem was that few providers picked it up, and DirecTV in particular didn’t seem too inclined to pay the exorbitant carriage fee sought by Time Warner. Over the years, only Charter ended up picking up SportsNet LA, and that was right before the provider merged with Time Warner. Even a price cut couldn’t budge providers, and DirecTV in particular wouldn’t even come to the table.
That is….until now. In what seems like an April Fools joke, but apparently is not, SportsNet LA has been picked up by both DirecTV and U-Verse, along with AT&T TV Now and the fledgling AT&T TV.
OFFICIAL: We’re very happy to announce a carriage agreement with AT&T. Starting now, our award-winning programming will be available to AT&T video subscribers in Southern California, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/sshYnnxIqW
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 1, 2020
Congratulations, AT&T customers. There’s no baseball right now, but you’ve got the Dodgers RSN!
Since SportsNet LA launched, the Dodgers have won six NL West titles and two NL pennants. They’ve transitioned from the Don Mattingly era to the Dave Roberts era, and from the Vin Scully era to the Joe Davis era. Much of the 2014 team has moved on, though Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Justin Turner all remain. Walker Buehler wasn’t even in the organization during the first season on SportsNet LA, and Cody Bellinger played just 51 games, all in Rookie ball. Hell, even new Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts had played just 52 games in the majors for the Red Sox.
So, all it took for DirecTV to carry SportsNet LA was AT&T buying DirecTV for tens of billions of dollars, a new manager, a new play by play broadcaster, a whole new core of players, six division titles, and a worldwide pandemic, just to start. And sure, there’s no baseball on right now, but when baseball eventually does come back (either later this year or in 2021), AT&T subscribers won’t have to hunt down alternative means of watching the Dodgers.