SBD/March 5, 2014/Media

With Opening Day Looming, Dish Network Unlikely To Carry Dodgers' SportsNet LA

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Dish would be willing to offer the channel to subscribers on an a la carte basis
Dish Network Exec VP & Chief Commercial Officer Dave Shull said that the majority of L.A.'s Dish customers "don't care about getting SportsNet LA," the new RSN of the Dodgers, according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. Dish also "doesn't carry SportsNet, the Time Warner Cable-owned channel that is the home for most Lakers games." Shull said that "so far, that hasn't been a problem." Shull: "I have a lot of customers in Los Angeles who are happy with the current lineup. They haven't yet told us they must have the Lakers and Dodgers." Shull said that Dish "would be willing to offer the channels on an a la carte basis to subscribers who want them," but he added that college sports content "is a bigger play for Dish right now." Shull: "This is a strategic focus for us" (LATIMES.com, 3/4). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes of SportsNet LA, "So far, none of the big guys like Charter, Cox, DirecTV or AT&T U-verse ... have bought in because they consider it unfair to their millions of non-Dodgers fans to raise everyone's rates." The Dodgers are "counting on the frightened outrage of those fans to force the issue." Plaschke: "The truth, of course, is that the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable and most pay-TV operators will probably make this deal." Only Dish "still doesn't broadcast the Lakers' TWC channel." It will "all happen at the last minute, and it makes you wonder: Couldn't the still-new Dodgers ownership have thought for a second about all the turmoil the team's fans have had to endure in recent years and actually figured out a way to avoid this purgatory?" That is the "message here." For "all their promises kept, the new Dodgers ownership has yet to figure out its fans" (L.A. TIMES, 3/5).
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