Time Warner Cable Offers SportsNet LA At Decreased Price To DirecTV

Nearly three years after striking a 20-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to serve as the exclusive home of the storied franchise, Time Warner Cable added the Los Angeles Dodgers to their portfolio on a 25-year, $8.35 billion agreement.

SportsNet, TWC’s exclusive home for the Lakers, launched for the 2012-13 NBA season and was quickly picked up by several other distributors. SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ network, which debuted in the spring of 2014, has faced challenges in gaining wider distribution.

At present time, the channel available to Bright House Networks, Charter Communications and TWC subscribers; while AT&T/DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS remain among the industry’s largest holdouts.

In effort to spark negotiations with AT&T/DirecTV and other providers, Time Warner Cable has reduced their carriage rate, TWC spokesperson Andrew Fegyveresi confirmed in a statement to DodgerBlue.com.

“Because it’s such a historic season, we offered AT&T/DIRECTV a price that’s 30 percent off our current rate,” he said. Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is entering his 67th and final season in the booth, which has placed further impetus on getting agreements in place.

There was hope the merger between AT&T and DirecTV would be enough to end the impasse, but there’s been little, if any, traction gained. This marks TWC’s second public effort to end the dispute as they agreed last July to enter binding arbitration last with DirecTV, who declined.

“We think it’s a wonderful gesture from Time Warner Cable, particularly out of respect to Vin Scully,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a released statement. “It’s a big win for the fans and, frankly, a big win for the cable and satellite providers.

“There could be no better way to honor Vin in his final year than for them to quickly accept this offer and get the games on TV.” In October 2014, SportsNet LA aired the Dodgers’ final six games of the season on KDOC, an independent station that is carried by all providers in Southern California and can be received with an over the air antenna.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, who previously stated the league wasn’t directly involved in the dispute, called on all parties involved to come to a resolution.

“The distribution dispute involving DirecTV, AT&T, COX and Verizon has gone on too long. The Dodgers’ massive fan base deserves to be able to watch Dodger games regardless of their choice of provider,” Manfred said in a released statement on Wednesday.

“The situation is particularly acute given that this is Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final season. Time Warner has made a significant economic move that I hope will be accepted by the providers.”

While the latest efforts may be reason for optimism, Fegyveresi urged fans who wish to have SportsNet LA by Opening Day to join one of three providers who already carry the network. “We’ve had discussions with several providers, but we don’t expect any other distributors to carry SNLA by Opening Day,” he said.

“Especially given that it’s Vin Scully’s last season, if fans want to see SportsNet LA and Dodgers games, they need to switch to Time Warner Cable, Charter or Bright House Networks.”