Why is the San Diego city council weighing in on Padres’ broadcast rights?

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The Padres have a thing like a lot of teams have had in recent years: a large portion of its fan base can’t see Padres games because one of the cable providers in the area isn’t carrying the channel which has the broadcast rights. In this cast it’s Time Warner — who covers northern San Diego County — not carrying Fox Sports San Diego, which runs the Padres games.

Whatever. Business is business. If Fox is asking for too much of a cut from Time Warner or if Time Warner is trying to squeeze out a competitor’s programming that’s something for the market to figure out. Customers who want to see Padres games will switch to satellite if they can. Or they’ll send a barrage of mail to Time Warner or something. I know people love their TV and their sports, but cable is a business and these things ultimately shake themselves out.

So why, then, is the San Diego City Council getting involved?

A San Diego City Council committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning on the impasse between Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego over carrying Padres baseball games.

The special meeting of the Rules and Economic Development Committee is set for 9 a.m. at the City Administration Building. Committee Chair Sherri Lightner said she arranged the hearing because of an outcry from fans who want to watch the hometown team’s games.

Grandstanding? Or is is just another instance of government officials mistaking sports teams as some sort of public trust and cable television carriage as an inalienable right?