The Dodgers launched their new television channel two weeks ago. They open the season in less than two weeks, an event that figures to be invisible to everyone in the Los Angeles area without Time Warner Cable.
You might need your Dodgers. You might even demand your Dodgers. However, if history is any guide, you might not get your Dodgers on SportsNet LA for another three to five weeks. And, yes, the regular season would be well underway by then.
It is no secret that cable and satellite operators object to what they perceive as another expensive new channel appealing to a minority of viewers. This argument comes up with every new channel that launches, and no one in the television industry knows which new channel might represent the so-called "tipping point" that would stop every league and team from establishing its own TV outlet.
For now, though, the clearest parallel is that of TWC SportsNet, the Lakers-focused channel launched by Time Warner Cable in 2012.
The Lakers opened the 2012-13 season on Oct. 30, 2012. When did the other major providers first make TWC SportsNet available to their customers?
Charter: four days before the Lakers' opener
Verizon Fios: one day before the opener
AT&T U-Verse: the day of the opener
Cox: eight days after the opener
DirecTV: 16 days after the opener
Dish: still has not agreed to carry the Lakers' channel
The Dodgers open the season in Australia, but we're not counting that game as the opener for this purpose, since it is unlikely television providers would feel overly pressured to carry a game that starts at 1 a.m. in Los Angeles.
For television purposes, we're counting March 30 as the opener, when the Dodgers face the Padres in San Diego. (That game, incidentally, will be on ESPN.)