San Diego City Council Plans Hearing On TWC/Fox Sports

Local Politicians Attempt to Spur Deal in Advance of Opening Day
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San Diego City Council member president pro tem Sherri Lightner plans to hold a hearing "in the next few weeks" to try and pressure Time Warner Cable to strike a carriage deal with Fox Sports San Diego, the cable home of Major League Baseball's Padres, before the season opens April 1.

That follows a letter by city Mayor Bob Filner to TWC urging it to end the stalemate.

FS San Diego has struck agreements with Cox, DirecTV, AT&T, U-Verse and Dish.

Sources indicate there are no current negotiations between the regional sports network and Time Warner Cable.

Lightner wants City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to attend the hearing and provide info on "what rights the city has through its franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable to compel it to negotiate an agreement."

“The message from my constituents is loud and clear: They want to be able to watch their hometown baseball team on television,” Lightner said. “The City of San Diego needs to explore all its options to see how it can help deliver the Padres to the people.”

Lightner also wants representatives of both companies to appear to discuss what is standing in the way of a deal. Look for a hearing by March 20, if no deal has been struck before then, with a TWC representative expected to attend.

"We maintain open lines of communication with all the elected officials in the areas we serve to make sure we’re hearing both their concerns and those of their constituents," said Time Warner Cable in a statement. "We always welcome an open conversation, but this is a dispute between two private parties."

A spokesperson for the MSO had no comment on the carriage issue beyond saying: "We would like to carry Fox Sports San Diego at the right value, but unfortunately we are at an impasse at this time."

"Fox is still gathering information about the hearing and has not yet decided if it will send a representative," said a Fox Sports spokesperson.