Rep. Hahn prods DirecTV, Time Warner Cable to restart Dodger channel talks
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) has made a strong pitch to pay-TV operators in Los Angeles to try to end the two-year standoff over distribution of SportsNet LA, the cable TV channel owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Like tens of thousands of Dodgers fans, Hahn can’t watch Dodgers baseball games at home. She subscribes to Cox Communications, which does not carry SportsNet LA. On Thursday, Hahn sent letters to Time Warner Cable and AT&T, which owns DirecTV, to coax the two companies back to the negotiation table.
She suggested a summit in her San Pedro office in early May.
“This blackout has gone on far too long,” Hahn said in a statement. “Fans are frustrated and they want to know that both sides are working toward a resolution.”
Hahn, who is running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has not been outspoken on the topic until this month. In the last 10 days, she has held meetings with executives at all of the pay-TV companies that provide service in Southern California. She was motivated to get involved in the dispute after reading a Los Angeles Times article about how Time Warner Cable had abandoned efforts to win wider distribution for the Dodgers channel, according to her spokeswoman.
Time Warner Cable, which distributes the channel, acknowledged this month that it had failed to engage other providers — even after offering a price cut.
“We appreciate the congresswoman’s interest in the matter, and we remain ready and willing to meet with any of the operators who do not carry SportsNet LA,” a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said. Time Warner Cable is in the process of being sold to Charter Communications.
Some have blamed DirecTV, and now AT&T, for contributing to the stalemate. The satellite-TV giant, which has 1.2 million customer homes in the Los Angeles area, has been unwilling to add the channel to its lineup, citing the high price.
“We have always been and remain willing to meet with Time Warner in a confidential setting that keeps the business discussions between the parties,” an AT&T spokesman said Thursday.
A Cox representative said: “We remain open to carrying SportsNet LA at a reasonable price and flexible terms that don’t overburden the entire video customer base.”
Hahn is not the first politician to lobby for a resolution. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Porter Ranch) and others, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, have also pushed for action.
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