More fans in the Los Angeles area will finally get to see Dodgers games after all this season.
Time Warner Cable has secured an agreement to broadcast the final week of Dodger games on KDOC, an independent broadcast station carried by every cable, satellite and telco provider in Southern California.
The station, which can also be received over the air with an antenna, will transmit the signal from SportsNet LA, the Dodgers regional sports network that has been shut out from carriage during its rookie season save for on Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems. Time Warner Cable is handling affiliate sales for the RSN, which features the legenday broadcaster Vin Scully and televised pitcher Clayton Kershaw's historic year, including his no-hitter (pictured).
KDOC, located in Santa Ana and licensed to Ellis Communications, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Titan Broadcast Management, will air the club’s final six games. KDOC will televise a pair of three-game Dodgers sets against their rivals the San Francisco Giants from Sept. 22-24 at 7:10 p.m. (PT) over whom LA currently holds a three-game lead in the National League West, and the final series against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 26 at 7:10 p.m., Sept. 27 at 6:10 p.m. and Sept. 28 at 1:10 p.m.
“Time Warner Cable is part of this community and we’re Dodger fans too,” said TWC COO Dinni Jain in a statement. “Angelenos love their Dodgers, and we’re happy to give them a way to watch their beloved team during this pennant chase.”
Asked whether the station deal was the result of the time buy or some marketing package, a TWC spokeswoman replied “We’re not going to discuss the specifics of the agreement with KDOC, but we are very pleased that they were willing to work with us on this so that we could put Dodger fans first.”
Time Warner Cable has said it was willing to accept outside arbitration to resolve the current carriage dispute, which has drawn comment from Capitol Hill (notably a bunch of unhappy California congressfolk) and the FCC.
Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA in February, but distributors, notably DirecTV, balked about the price — some reports put it $4 per sub per month or higher — especially when combined with other RSNs in the market. In addition to the DBS leader, Dish Network, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse have all sat out on the distribution sidelines this season.
After a number of California members of the House voiced their concerns about the situation, FCC Tom Wheeler gathered information about the negotiating process. In an interview with Mulitchannel News, Wheeler last week urged TWC and those MVPD's to put aside their differences and let viewers see the final games, which TWC has evidently accomplished without striking carriage deals with the providers in question.
“Right now, we can’t change the fact that other area TV distributors won’t carry the channel, but we don’t want anyone to miss this exciting pennant run,” said Jain. We hope everyone will tune in to KDOC and help us cheer on the Dodgers. We will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers in the off season.”
"Time Warner Cable has worked hard to get other providers to carry SportsNet LA so all fans will have access to games," he added. "The company even agreed to enter into binding arbitration to secure a deal and offered to make games available during arbitration. Unfortunately, other providers have refused."
Sports Fan Coalition chairman David Goodfriend dipped into a baseball analogy to get his view of TWC's play across: "This is like sending in your starting pitcher in the 9th inning when you're down 10 runs: Too little too late. Time Warner Cable already has denied millions of Dodgers fans almost an entire season and the company will do it again next year unless something big happens. Here's an idea: no government action on the pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger until anyone in Southern California who wants to see the Dodgers games on TV can do so. No Dodgers, no merger. Period."
KDOC can be seen on the following channels:
Over the air broadcast