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Time Warner Cable negotiations only send pain to Dodgers fans

April 04, 2014|By Steve Dilbeck

Ah, isn’t that sweet? The big boys are arguing. Holding their breath and not going to play until … something.

Time Warner Cable and DirecTV can’t even agree on what they’re not agreeing about. But they’ve drawn a line in the infield, or at least one side claims the other side did. Which it denies. Keep that scorecard handy.

This isn’t a negotiation, it’s torture by rhetoric with fans on the rack.

The new baseball season is almost a week old now and discussions between TWC and the other providers to broadcast the Dodgers’ new 24/7 channel, SportsNet LA, appear to be broadening faster than you can say “Erisbel Arruebarrena.”

Time Warner Cable officials told The Times’ Joe Flint that DirecTV had ceased serious negotiations to carry SportsNet LA and been informed the satellite provider would not carry the Dodgers this year.

To which DirecTV said: What?

A DirecTV spokesman countered to Flint that “nothing could be further from the truth" and added that "fans have already seen through Time Warner Cable’s deception, and this is yet another transparent attempt to manipulate all TV customers throughout the region."

Duck and cover, these are apparently the Don Drysdales of cable providers, the twaddle is coming in high and hard.

DirecTV has an approximately 30% share of the market in the Los Angeles area and is probably the key provider for most restaurants and bars. Getting them on board is just kind of important.

Time Warner Cable also has about 30% share of the market.

The start of the season was supposed to bring the big pressure to get TWC and the others together. That not only hasn’t happened, they appear even further apart. I'll see you Mars and raise you Saturn!

So 70% of the Los Angeles area is unable to watch the Dodgers’ games. And it’s that 70% that will ultimately have to ante up for whatever labored agreement TWC and the others finally come up with.

There’s no one to root for in this squabble. Not team ownership – they’re the ones that shattered records to buy the team. Not TWC, which agreed to pay the Dodgers $8.5 billion to operate the new network. And not the other cable providers, who already send us monthly bills approaching a car payment.

You just know in the end all sides will get what they want and pass the bill on to the rest of us. Meanwhile, the Dodgers sit quietly by while the prolonged negotiations tighten their iron maiden on fans who just want to watch their team play baseball.

Not watch multibillion-dollar companies squabble over how to split profits the normal Joe can’t even comprehend. Enough already, get it done and pass on the pain.

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