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Dodgers put 5 games on KTLA; no DirecTV deal expected this season

For the fifth consecutive year, the Dodgers will be off the air in a majority of Southern California homes.

The team and its television partner announced Friday that five games will be shown on KTLA (Channel 5). The games, all in March and April, will be simulcasts of the SportsNet LA broadcasts, which otherwise are available only to customers of Spectrum, a brand of Charter Communications.

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"Other distributors are not expected to carry SportsNet LA this season," Spectrum said in a statement.

The Dodgers own SportsNet LA. In exchange for a guaranteed $8.35 billion over 25 years, they granted Time Warner Cable exclusive marketing rights for the channel. Neither TWC nor Charter Communications, which bought TWC two years ago, has been able to reach agreement with DirecTV or other local cable and satellite providers to air SportsNet LA.

As a result, Charter is the only major pay-TV distributor in Southern California to carry SportsNet LA, and the Dodgers broadcasts go unseen by a majority of fans.

The Dodgers and Charter aired a 10-game package on KTLA in April and May of last season, hoping to spark renewed negotiations with DirecTV. That did not happen, and the Dodgers put an additional six games on KTLA in August and September.

Neither DirecTV nor Charter appears particularly motivated to end the standoff. DirecTV has not lost the critical mass of customers that would compel the company to negotiate a deal to carry SportsNet LA, and Charter has chosen to pitch Spectrum as the exclusive home of Dodgers broadcasts.

In the last local broadcast available on all cable and satellite systems in Southern California, the Dodgers used A.J. Ellis at catcher, Mark Ellis at second base, Carl Crawford in left field, Skip Schumaker in center field, and Michael Young and Dee Gordon at shortstop.

The KTLA games announced Friday:

Friday, March 30 vs. San Francisco

Saturday, April 7 at San Francisco

Friday, April 13 vs. Arizona

Saturday, April 21 vs. Washington

Saturday, April 28 at San Francisco

Here's some background on how the Dodgers got into this mess and why it is difficult to find a way out.

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Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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