Last year the Dodgers aired a handful of late season games on broadcast TV so fans could see the final games of Vin Scully. It gave some people hope that, maybe, the team and its sports network, SportsNet LA, and its cable partner, Charter Communications, would find a way to end the impasse that has prevented most baseball fans in southern California from seeing Dodgers games due to a carriage dispute between them and various cable providers. We now have our answer.
Nope. From the LA Times:
For the fourth consecutive year, the Dodgers’ television broadcasts could go unseen by a majority of fans in the Los Angeles area.
Charter Communications said Monday it does not anticipate reaching agreements with DirecTV or any other cable or satellite provider to carry the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA channel by the time the regular season starts April 3.
At some point people just learn to live without watching their baseball team. Time makes it easier. Vin Scully retiring makes it easier. It’s anecdotal, obviously, but I have a handful of friends in Los Angeles who are Dodgers fans and they’ve all since moved on. They check in online, looking at scores and stats and occasional stories but that’s all. They care in the way someone cares about a friend who moved away. Keeping in touch, but only for so long.
The Dodgers will not suffer for this in the immediate future, as the money they got for the TV deal that is so expensive that it is basically preventing carriage on cable providers is guaranteed. But, at some point it’s quite possible that the deal won’t make sense for Charter Communications and they’ll find they cannot get sufficient revenues to support their multi-billion investment in Dodgers broadcast rights. What then?
In other news, if your team has not yet struck a lucrative new broadcast deal, there’s a fair chance that it’s too late for them to take full advantage of one of the bigger bubbles of our time.