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Los Angeles Dodger fans who have suffered all season because games have only been available in Southern California on Time Warner Cable get a reprieve for the final week of the pennant race as the team battles to make the playoffs.
TWC has made a deal to broadcast the final six games on KDOC, Channel 56, which is over the air on the UHF dial. The station is also carried on all of the cable, satellite and Telecom providers in the region.
“Time Warner Cable is part of this community and we’re Dodger fans too,” said Dinni Jain, TWC’s chief operating officer in a statement. “Angelenos love their Dodgers, and we’re happy to give them a way to watch their beloved team during this pennant chase.”
The broadcasts begin Sept. 22 and will be simulcast on TWC’s SportsNet LA. That includes a crucial series against the rival San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers play the Giants on Sept. 22, 23 and 24; and then take on the Colorado Rockies Sept. 26, 27 and 28.
Until this season, a large number of Dodger games had been on free over the air broadcast since the team arrived in Los Angeles just before the 1958 season.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who has taken a personal interest in the Dodger’s TV situation, praised TWC for the new agreement: ““I’m pleased that now all Dodger fans will be able to join the excitement of watching the final regular season games in advance of the playoff race. The leadership of Representative Cárdenas and Mayor Garcetti kept this issue in the forefront and the FCC will continue to go to bat for consumers in resolving programming disputes. We hope that long-term agreements will be the next step and can be achieved quickly without depriving fans of any regular season games next year.”
Under a new agreement this season, the teams owners, Guggenheim Partners, secured a multi-billion dollar deal to create a new cable channel that carries their games and related programming. TWC is responsible for producing and distributing the network.
Other distributors have balked at the price — which is reported to be between $4 and $5 per subscriber each month. Most notably, DirecTV has said the price is too high.
An estimated 70 percent of the TV homes in the Dodger footprint who don’t subscribe to TWC cannot receive the games.
In the announcement, TWC points out it has offered to enter into binding arbitration with other distributors in an effort to secure expanded carriage. What they don’t mention is that TWC is adamant the games must be on the basic tier and be available to all subscribers, even if they are not sports fans.
“Right now, we can’t change the fact that other area TV distributors won’t carry the channel, but we don’t want anyone to miss this exciting pennant run,” added Jain in a statement. “We hope everyone will tune in to KDOC and help us cheer on the Dodgers. We will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers in the off season.”
Guggenheim Partners also owns The Hollywood Reporter.
UPDATE 9/15 4 p.m. pst – The quote from the FCC chairman was added.
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