Sources: AT&T Not Adding Dodgers' RSN After Time Warner Deal
In the wake of AT&T's $85.4B deal to acquire Time Warner, the company is "not expected to pick up SportsNet LA" and its coverage of Dodgers games, according to sources cited by Meg James of the L.A. TIMES. In '15, the "prospect of a major media merger fueled speculation" that Dodgers fans would "finally get to see their favorite team on television." But four years and four mergers later, the channel "still is available on only one pay-TV service in Southern California" -- Charter's Spectrum. The Time Warner purchase will "add to AT&T’s staggering debt load and analysts expect that AT&T will be looking to slash costs." Media research firm Kagan analyst Adam Gajo said that the "debacle over the Dodgers channel changed the calculus for the entire industry." SportsNet LA is "one of the highest-priced local sports channels in the nation," as only YES Net and FS Detroit have "higher prices than SportsNet LA." The $8.35B distribution deal for the Dodgers channel was "structured about five years ago -- before the television industry fully grasped the effect of cord-cutting." Gajo said that teams have "seen what happened with the Dodgers channel" and "decided to be less aggressive in increasing their TV rights fees out of concern that they could lose TV distribution -- and alienate fans" (LATIMES.com, 6/15).