‘Concern’ over TV deal won’t get Vin Scully back on our TVs for his final season
J ust wishing and hoping …
That won’t get Vin Scully back in your TV set.
It’s still out there: the unofficial blackout. The dispute between one ginormous, obscenely rich media company and other gargantuan, opulent media companies.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Do the Dodgers think that, at this point, fans really care? The vast majority of the Los Angeles region still don’t get the Dodgers on television. It’s remarkable, really.
The Dodgers are approaching their third consecutive season of this blackout. And Scully, who turns 88 this month, has said next year will probably be his last.
That Scully could possibly broadcast a 67th consecutive and final season and most fans wouldn’t get to appreciate his last bits of professional brilliance is criminal. Is there anyone breathing in Los Angeles unaware of this?
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the general managers meetings in Florida on Tuesday that he was keenly aware.
“My concern could not be higher,” Manfred said. “I think that the Dodgers and the Los Angeles market are crucial to Major League Baseball and its reach. This has gone on a long time.”
Isn’t that swell? Manfred is concerned. Thanks for the input. That should shake up those stalled negotiations between Time Warner Cable and all the rest of the satellite and cable operators.
“I’m hopeful that there are dynamics in play beyond baseball, in terms of corporate activity, that may create some flexibility and, hopefully, we will get a resolution in time for the 2016 season,” he said.
Right, never heard that one before. Every year this proposed merger or that corporate union was just going to change everything. Only DirecTV and AT&T merged -- and nothing. Charter and Time Warner announced they were hooking up like a couple of supervillains back in May, and still no agreement. And when has reducing competition ever proved beneficial to consumers?
The Dodgers signed their sweetheart, $8.35-billion deal with Time Warner and then washed their hands of the entire thing. It’s not our fault! If you write about this fiasco and don’t paint DirecTV as the heavy, team President Stan Kasten stops talking to you. There go all my one-on-ones.
Hey, the Dodgers have led all of baseball in attendance for three consecutive years. They’re raising ticket prices again. They’ve raised parking fees. They’re in Fat City, so where’s their real motivation to push this through?
You can blame anyone you want -- the Dodgers, Time Warner, DirecTV, the free market system, the evolution of cable, Donald Trump or Larry David -- it doesn’t matter. No one is moving on this. DirecTV gambled it would lose fewer subscribers by not carrying the Dodgers than by signing up and passing on the fee. It won.
Frustrated fans can stick their heads out a window and do their “Network” imitation -- “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” -- all they want and it changes nothing. There is little impetus for change among the well-heeled.
Now, if Manfred is really so concerned about the situation, he needs to get everyone involved into a room, lock it and not let anyone out until there’s an agreement. Someone is going to have to eat some serious money on this or it’s never going to get done. And it’s difficult to see how that someone is not going to be Time Warner and the Dodgers.
There’s a channel out there called SportsNet LA that most of us have never seen. They have this marvelous man broadcasting their games who’s the most beloved figure in the history of Los Angeles. And we want to soak in his last hurrah.
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