The first game of the latest iteration of the "Freeway Series" delivered Fox Sports West's top rating of the 2014 Major League Baseball season.
FS West's coverage of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 4 drew a 4.02 household rating, 228,000 households and 346,000 viewers in the Los Angeles DMA. Monday night's telecast also marked the club's second-best performance ever on FS West.
Perhaps the big numbers were not surprising given what was at stake of the field -- the Dodgers lead the National League West, while the Angels are currently one game off the pace in the American League West and would host the junior circuit's Wild Card playoff game if the season ended now -- and the continuing distribution stalemate for SportsNet LA, the Dodgers' regional sports network home.
With only Time Warner Cable, which manages the service and its affiliate sales team, carrying the RSN in the LA market, SportsNet averaged a 1.01 household rating, 57,000 households and 88,000 viewers. Time Warner Cable counts more than 30% of the pay-TV subscribers in the City of Angels environs.
Prompted by a letter from California lawmakers to chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC has threatened to get involved in trying to prompt some resolution to the carriage impasse, stemming from the SportsNet LA's monthly subscriber fee that is reportedly in excess of $4.
In the wake of that missive,Time Warner Cable has said it was willing to accept outside arbitration to resolve the current carriage dispute. However, DirecTV, the other major distributor in the LA market, said it is not ready yet to submit its bid for carriage of SportsNet LA into arbitration, but it is open to "mediation."
"We will continue to have discussions in good faith and will consider mediation, rather than arbitration, to reach a deal that benefits all of our customers. But any such talks must include all TV providers in the area as well as compromise by the ownership of the Dodgers to be meaningful," DirecTV said in a statement.
Meanwhile, there is less than two months left in MLB's 2014 campaign and the shutout for SportsNet LA could stretch for the entire season.