We’re five years into the Dodgers’ television blackout, and we have what appears to be the new normal: a handful of games on free television, another handful on national ESPN and Fox broadcasts, and the rest exclusively on Spectrum.
For the second consecutive year, the Dodgers and Charter Communications have added a late-season package of games on KTLA.
This year’s package, announced Tuesday, includes five games — four in August, one in September. The games will be simulcasts of the SportsNet LA broadcasts, which otherwise are available only to customers of Spectrum, a brand of Charter Communications.
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.
In four of the five seasons since SportsNet LA premiered in 2014, the Dodgers have aired a small selection of games on free television: six games on KDOC in 2014, six on KTLA in 2016, 16 on KTLA last year and now 10 on KTLA this year.
The KTLA games announced Tuesday:
Saturday, Aug. 4 vs. Astros
Wednesday, Aug. 15 vs. Giants
Monday, Aug. 20 vs. Cardinals
Friday, Aug. 31 vs. Diamondbacks
Tuesday, Sept. 4 vs. Mets
Here’s some background on how the Dodgers got into this mess and why it is difficult to find a way out. And here’s why AT&T’s recently approved purchase of Time Warner doesn’t mean SportsNet LA will get into more homes in Southern California.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin