The Dodgers will be launching their own sports broadcast network this year on Time Warner Cable which is unofficially set to begin airing programming on February 25th. The Dodgers have yet to officially announce that start date, but a billboard has been spotted with the February 25th date on it. The Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth took this photo of said billboard which was strategically placed off the 405 freeway in Culver City and depicts Yasiel Puig upon it. It was put up by Clear Channel Communications which also owns the Dodgers’ radio station KLAC-AM (570).
Supposedly a few hours later the billboard was covered up. Did someone jump the gun on this reveal?
“We were excited by the interest it generated by prematurely going up,” said Lon Rosen, Dodgers executive vice president of marketing.
Surprisingly there was not any questions asked to Ned Colletti regarding the new network at the Dodgers press conference last Wednesday.
The Dodgers have also yet to officially announce the new broadcasters they have brought on board after letting go Steve Lyons and Eric Collins this offseason. They reportedly have hired Orel Hershiser, Alanna Rizzo, Jerry Hairston Jr., Nomar Garciaparra, and John Hartung.
Time Warner and the other cable providers in the Los Angeles area will need to negotiate terms in order for the other cable service providers to carry the new channel. This has caused some worry amongst fans who hope that it doesn’t turn into another Lakers channel debacle. Many television cable customers didn’t receive the Lakers channel SportsNet and Deportes at first and missed many Lakers as well as L.A. Galaxy and L.A. Sparks games.
There will also be price increases for Time Warner Cable customers to offset the gigantic deal with the Dodgers for their rights. The subscriber fee would increase from $5 to $8 per month over a five year period.
Other cable providers who will need to negotiate carrier fees with Time Warner are: AT&T’s U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, and Verizon FiOS. I stayed the course with Time Warner even though I was highly frustrated during last season’s KCAL blackout which caused me to miss precious Dodger games. I will pay the increased cable charges to get my Dodgers baseball, but it’s not like I have much choice.
When Time Warner shopped the Lakers channel to other cable providers in 2012 it also carried with it a fee increase to subscribers. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, many were without access to games while this cat-and-mouse game played out. Many fans had to watch their Lakers games on opposing teams’ networks with non-Lakers announcers. The same situation could be simmering for SportsNet LA with fans scrambling to watch their Dodger games on other out of area networks until deals can be reached with all the area service providers.
With SportsNet LA set to air exclusive Dodger content and programming, Dodger fans shouldn’t be held hostage while the big cable provider companies negotiate. Every Dodger fan has the birth-given right to watch their Boys in Blue without worrying about cable company wars and blackouts. Although we are fortunate to live in an age when most if not all Dodger games during the season are televised through our cable service providers, I hope there isn’t a sour start to the Spring while some fans wait for their cable providers to come to terms with TWC.