For the sixth year in a row, most Dodgers fans can’t watch their team on television
Every now and then, Joe Davis said Friday, fans will stop him on the street and say they wish they could see the Dodgers on television.
Not too often, he said.
The Dodgers are about to start their sixth season off the air in the majority of Southern California homes. They have won the National League West for six consecutive years — for the first time in franchise history — and yet they remain blacked out among a significant part of their fan base.
“Everybody hoped it would get solved by now,” said Davis, entering his third season as the Dodgers’ television voice.
While local baseball fans can see Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani just about every night on the Angels’ Fox Sports West broadcasts, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner appear sporadically to fans without the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA broadcasts.
Those fans are assured of seeing the Dodgers for 26 games this season: 10 on KTLA, seven on Fox, five on ESPN, and four on FS West, when the Dodgers play the Angels. KTLA, Fox and ESPN could select additional games later in the season.
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 three years ago, have 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 television distributor in Southern California to carry the channel. There are no active negotiations with other providers, Charter spokeswoman Stacey Mitch said Friday.
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.
The Dodgers continue to try to resolve the situation, team spokesman Steve Brener said. He declined to elaborate.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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