Manfred: 'Really, really important for the fans' to get Dodgers on air

Proposed merger between TWC and Comcast also affecting ability of Dodgers to complete the process

As the Dodgers' television blackout extends into a second season, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he has discussed the issue with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Manfred called it "really, really important for the fans in L.A." to get the Dodgers back on the air. Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, neither Manfred nor Garcetti has the power to compel Time Warner Cable and DirecTV to strike a deal.

The Dodgers granted TWC exclusive rights to local television broadcasts under a 25-year contract valued by MLB at $8.35 billion, with TWC responsible for getting other cable and satellite providers in the area to sign up. But DirecTV and other providers have balked at the asking price, and so the Dodgers' SportsNet LA channel remains unavailable to about 70% of local viewers.

There have been no meaningful negotiations between TWC and DirecTV this year, The Times reported Monday. The Dodgers hope that SportsNet LA can get on the air soon after the federal government approves a proposed merger between TWC and Comcast, but the approval process twice has been delayed by the Federal Communications Commission. If the merger is approved -- not guaranteed -- the completion of the process could be months away.

"I think it’s not uncommon, when you have the kind of merger activity that you have there, that business issues can slow things down," Manfred told reporters before the Angels played in Seattle on Wednesday.

"I’m hopeful the merger issue gets resolved one way or another to create some flexibility that gets the Dodgers full distribution. I think it’s really, really important for the fans in L.A. I’ve talked to anybody and everybody I can think of, including the mayor of L.A., about trying to get something done, but it’s one of those issues where we don’t even have a seat at the table, so it’s hard to effectuate a particular result."


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