Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Sunday, July 27, 2014
U.S. reps urge FCC over Dodgers TV

By Mark Saxon
ESPNLosAngeles.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers were hopeful Sunday that an effort by a group of Southern California lawmakers could break the stalemate between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV providers that has deprived about 70 percent of the Los Angeles market of the team's local broadcasts.

Seven members of the U.S. Congress, led by Rep. Tony Cardenas, wrote the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to broker a deal.

"It's progress," said Dodgers executive vice president Lon Rosen. "Anything that can move this thing forward potentially can resolve it."

The Dodgers also issued a statement that read, "We are open to any activity that will move forward a deal so that fans can once again enjoy their Dodgers."

Time Warner Cable has been unable to land carriage agreements with other distributors, including DirecTV, which controls about 25 percent of the Southern California market.

The Dodgers own the channel, SportsNet LA, but the negotiations have been between Time Warner cable and the distributors. Time Warner Cable agreed to pay $8.35 billion over 25 years to broadcast the team's games. The channel provides 24-hour Dodgers content.

Only games carried nationally, such as Sunday night's game in San Francisco aired by ESPN, have been available in Southern California to nonsubscribers of Time Warner Cable.

The Dodgers are 58-47 and in first place in the National League West.

Many fans without Time Warner Cable missed the opportunity to see no-hitters thrown by Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw this season and haven't been able to hear legendary broadcaster Vin Scully.

The two sides have haggled over the cost of the channel, which is believed to be more than $4 a month per subscriber.

"Time Warner Cable did an unprecedented deal, and now they expect all their competitors to bankroll that deal," DirecTV executive Dan York told ESPNLosAngeles.com in May. "That includes the customers who have no interest in watching the Dodgers. And that's not fair to millions of families."

Co-signing the letter with Cardenas were Democratic House members Lucille Roybal-Allard, Judy Chu, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sanchez, Janice Hahn and Julia Brownley.

"Consumers deserve the opportunity to watch their program of choice," Cardenas wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "The ongoing stalemate between Time Warner Cable and other pay-TV providers has reached a point where mediation by the FCC is necessary."

The FCC is in the process of reviewing Comcast's proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable for more than $40 billion.