No Negotiations Between Padres, TWC For Carriage Deal As Opening Day Looms
Padres President & CEO Tom Garfinkel said he was "not terribly optimistic" Time Warner Cable would pick up the team's games before Opening Day. Garfinkel appeared yesterday on XEPRS-AM's "Scott & BR" show to talk about the ongoing carriage talks with TWC. He was asked if the team had been in negotiations with TWC and said, "They haven't really moved off their position from a year ago. Yet Cox, DirecTV, now AT&T and Dish have all chosen to pick up the games, much to the credit of Fox, frankly, and consumers, fans have choices now. For 12 years there was about over 30 percent of the market that couldn't get the games and didn't have a choice. They had no one to switch to. Now it's about … 22 percent of the market are Time Warner customers and they do have a choice. ... Time Warner, we want them to pick up the games. We asked them directly, but they gave us really no indication that right now they plan to pick up the games. In fact, they suggested it's not likely unless there's a critical mass of their customers who leave to their competitors." Garfinkel was asked about TWC's offer to Fox and said, "Fox made them an offer and said, 'Hey, here's what it cost to carry the games.' And Time Warner came back and said, 'Here's what we're willing to pay.' And Fox came back with a counter offer that was then accepted by the other four carriers and Time Warner hasn't really moved off their position from a year ago." Garfinkel: "We're trying to understand their position better and just let them know how we felt, and that we are arm in arm with Fox on the thing, and that we're disappointed they haven't chosen to pick up the games, and we wanted to hear from them why" ("Scott & BR," XEPRS-AM, 2/27). FSN VP/Communications Chris Bellitti said, "There are no current talks" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/28).
FANS WANT MORE: In San Diego, Bill Center notes the Padres yesterday "announced a webcast expansion of spring training broadcasts," while DirecTV said that it would "telecast the nine remaining spring training games" scheduled by FS San Diego and pick up the RSN's total lineup on April 1. The Padres are "going to offer an additional 12 spring training exhibitions via audio webcasts." The webcasts will "raise the number of games available through television, radio or webcasts to 32." Garfinkel said, "We heard from our fans that they wanted all of the games broadcast, so we found a solution to close the gap for them." The webcasts will be on Padres.com with play-by-play "provided by either" Bob Scanlan or Andy Masur (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/28).