Magic Johnson doesn't think TV issue has hurt Dodgers' brand

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson on TV issue: 'It's not hurting us'

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson said Wednesday he does not believe the team's virtual disappearance from local television has damaged its standing in the community.

When Johnson and his partners bought the Dodgers in 2012, the Lakers legend talked of restoring the team to the local prominence it enjoyed decades ago, under the ownership of the O'Malley family. After that period, the Lakers became the dominant team in town.

The Lakers appear vulnerable. They lost a franchise-record 61 games this season, breaking the record of 55 set last season. The Dodgers have won consecutive National League West championships under their new ownership, leading the major leagues in attendance each year.

Johnson said the TV issue has damaged neither the team's brand nor its opportunity to turn Los Angeles into a Dodgers town once again.

"No, it's not hurting us," Johnson said. "But we want to be on TV. You know that."

The Dodgers are in the second year of a 25-year, $8.35-billion contract with Time Warner Cable. However, with TWC unable to reach deals with DirecTV and other cable and satellite providers to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers remain off the air in about 70% of local households. Negotiations also have been stalled pending government reviews of a proposed merger between TWC and Comcast.

Johnson said the Dodgers' management team had discussed the situation as recently as Tuesday.

"There are things going on," Johnson said, offering no specifics. "There are meetings. There are people talking. There's nothing we can tell you right now. But we are trying. We are working hard."

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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