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Verizon isn’t any closer to a deal to carry SportsNet LA than other distributors, but it has come up with a novel way to pacify unhappy sports fans who are also Fios subscribers. It is giving Dodger fans premium pay TV service as compensation.
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“We think enough of our customers who we deem avid Dodger fans that we have extended an offer for three months of free HBO or Showtime,” says a Verizon Fios spokesman. While we seek a fair and equitable agreement with Time Warner Cable on behalf of our customers, we hope this offer is incentive enough to remain a FiOS customer.”
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Verizon, which has an estimated 800,000 subscribers in the Dodger’s cable footprint, has had talks with Time Warner Cable, which is handling licensing of SportsNet LA — but like DirecTV, Cox, AT&T U-verse and Dish Network — has not come to an agree yet, citing the high price being asked.
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“Currently, there is no deal,” confirms the Verizon spokesman. ‘We’ve had discussions and there remain some significant differences. Our goal is to do what’s in the best interest of all of our customers from the super Dodger fan to those who have no interest in the Dodgers or sports. That said, we remain hopeful that Time Warner Cable will ultimately recognize a more customer-friendly model: for example, one that is driven by a customer’s willingness to pay for or watch the channel.”
That doesn’t seem likely. DirecTV and others have told TWC that they are willing to carry SportsNet LA on a sports tier or a la carte, but the Dodger channel has said absolutely not. It wants carriage on the entire system, and it wants to be paid a reported $4 per customer per month for all subscribers, whether they watch sports or not.
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An estimated 70 percent of TV homes in Southern California do not currently receive SportsNet LA. The other 30 percent subscribe to Time Warner Cable, which does offer SportsNet LA.
Maybe the true blue Fios fans can ease their frustrations by catching a rerun of Major League, The Natural, Field of Dreams, A League of Their Own, For Love Of The Game or Bull Durham on HBO or Showtime.
There was no comment from Time Warner Cable on the Verizon Fios offer to its sports fan customers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and SportsNet LA are both majority owned by Guggenheim Partners, as is The Hollywood Reporter.
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