DirecTV has stepped up to the plate in the battle over televised Dodgers games in the Los Angeles market, taking a swing at Time Warner Cable for what it calls “excess” on TWC’s part.
DirecTV issued a statement Tuesday saying that services such as itself, AT&T U-verse shouldn’t bail out TWC in a standoff that has left the majority of the Los Angeles market without televised Dodgers games during the current baseball season.
TWC, which has set up a long-term contract with Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA, is asking that the network be carried on the basic service tier at rates ranging from $4 to $5 per subscriber. That’s left many subscription-TV services balking at the rate, resulting in a blackout that’s left approximately 70 percent of the Los Angeles market without the Dodgers on television.
Time Warner Cable has expressed interest in resolving the issue via arbitration.
In its statement, DirecTV said that, while fans should be able to watch games, subscribers who don’t follow the team shouldn’t be penalized for it.
“We agree that any loyal Dodger fans deserve the opportunity to see games, yet not at the expense of the millions of other AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, DishNetwork, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications, Verizon FiOS and other families who have little or no interest in paying for Time Warner Cable’s excess,” DirecTV said in a statement. “Rather than force everyone to bail Time Warner Cable out, the simplest solution is to enable only those who want to pay to see the remaining Dodgers games to do so at the price Time Warner Cable wants to set.”
The statement comes on the same day that Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler sent a sternly worded letter to TWC chairman and CEO Robert Marcus, urging a swift resolution to the issue.
“Inaction is no longer acceptable. I strongly urge you to end the impasses that are depriving Los Angeles consumers from being able to watch their home baseball team,” Wheeler wrote.
He also added that the commission will step in and take action if necessary.
“The FCC will continue to monitor the dispute closely and I will intervene as appropriate necessary [sic] to bring relief to consumers,” Wheeler cautioned.