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Dish Network unlikely to carry Dodger channel

Dish Network unlikely to carry Dodger channel
The set of SportsNet LA (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Satellite broadcaster Dish Network isn't interested in playing ball with the Dodgers.

In an interview, Dish executive vice president David Shull said the majority of Dish's Los Angeles area customers don't care about getting SportsNet LA, the new Dodger-owned pay-TV channel that launched last month.

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Dish also doesn't carry SportsNet, the Time Warner Cable-owned channel that is the home for most Lakers games. So far, that hasn't been a problem, Shull said.

"I have a lot of customers in Los Angeles who are happy with the current lineup," Shull said. "They haven't yet told us they must have the Lakers and Dodgers."

Shull said Dish would be willing to offer the channels on an a la carte basis to subscribers who want them, but Time Warner Cable, which handles distribution for SportsNet LA isn't interested in that proposition.

"They are hanging on to an old model," Shull said, adding that it would not be fair to the majority of Dish subscribers to jam these two expensive channels down their throats.

Dish does carry the Pac-12 channel as well as ESPN. It also just struck a deal with Walt Disney Co. to carry the SEC Network and Longhorn channel. Shull said college sports content is a bigger play for Dish right now.

"That is a strategic focus for us," Shull said.

Dish declines to say how many subscribers it has in the Los Angeles region but industry analysts put the figure around 500,000. So far, none of the other major area distributors including DirecTV, Cox and Verizon FiOS have signed up to carry SportsNet LA.

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Twitter: @JBFlint

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