DirecTV Refuses to ‘Bail Out’ Time Warner Cable in Dodgers Standoff

Dodgers Time Warner TV Dispute
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Move could put big spotlight on Time Warner Cable as FCC looks on

Despite a threat from the FCC to begin arbitration, DirecTV refuses to back down in its standoff with Time Warner Cable over rights to the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA channel.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the satellite provider again pushed Time Warner Cable to agree to a deal in which DirecTV could offer the games ala carte to its customers.

“Rather than force everyone to bail Time Warner Cable out, the simplest solution is to enable only those who want to pay to see the remaining Dodgers games to do so at the price Time Warner Cable wants to set,” DirecTV said in a statement.

DirecTV isn’t alone in putting the blame on Time Warner Cable.

On Tuesday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said he was encouraged by TWC’s willingness to end the TV blackout but “troubled by the negative impact that your apparent actions are having on consumers and the overall video marketplace.”

Last year, Time Warner Cable entered into a 25-year agreement valued at more than $8 billion with the Dodgers to distribute SportsNet LA, but their inability to reach carriage agreements with other multichannel distributors has left about 70% of the region unable to access the games.

Wheeler went on to request that Time Warner Cable provide a written explanation of the arbitration process as proposed, how it will bring “relief to consumers expeditiously,” and other steps TWC will take to resolve the matter if arbitration is not successful.

He also chided Time Warner Cable for ignoring calls from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Attorney General Kamala Harris to resolve the impasse.

“We appreciate the FCC review of this dispute because all Dodger fans should be able to watch their first place team make a run for the pennant,” a spokesperson for Garcetti told Variety.

Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers clearly see that the proposal to enter into binding arbitration — advanced by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and other area lawmakers on Monday — has advantages in ending the dispute. “We prefer to reach agreements through private business negotiations, but given the current circumstance, we are willing to agree to binding arbitration and to allow DirecTV customers to watch the Dodgers games while the arbitration is concluded,” Time Warner Cable said in a statement on Monday night.

Yet competitors have characterized Time Warner Cable as trying to pass off the costs of the Dodgers rights to all customers, even those who don’t plan on watching the channel. An ala carte deal would likely return far less revenue to TWC and the team, or it would be priced so high as to further anger fans with memories of once watching games on free over-the-air TV.

TWC has argued that the bundling of regional sports channels with other channels is standard industry practice, what may be an important point to an arbitration judge. Observers say that DirecTV would likely have a reluctance to enter into the unpredictable process of binding arbitration, where they would be bound by deal terms set by a retired judge.

In its statement, DirecTV said that they agree with Sherman that “any loyal Dodger fans deserve the opportunity to see games, yet not at the expense of the millions of other AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications, Verizon FiOS and other families who have little or no interest in paying for Time Warner Cable’s excesses.”

 

 

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  1. Jack hastings says:

    So let me get this strate, Directv wants me to pay ala cart for the Dodgers When I need to pay for their root sports network, the angels and other sewage. If that is the case, then these chanels should be ala cart! Directv dedate is square peg in round hole.

  2. Jon M says:

    Time Warner has purposely delayed the Dodgers coming to all cable and or satelitte channels and Time Warner has caused a lot of unnecessary complaining from my husband. Time Warner end this bullcrap and allow non cable channels to show Dodgers in action.

  3. Omar gonzalez says:

    I hope Time Warner cable goes bankrupt

  4. Omar gonzalez says:

    Time Warner cable is based out of New York why would they come out here and mess with our Los Angeles teams if I ever become a billionaire I’m going to buy the Knicks the Mets the Yankees and shut them down

  5. Omar gonzalez says:

    I look at Time Warner cable as bullies there in New York fan base company and they’re coming to Los Angeles to mess with our Dodgers

  6. Lee Balkin says:

    TWC was already the scourge of cable companies. Now their greed has been exposed fully at the expense of the shut out Los Angeles dodgers fans. Yes the Dodgers management is partially to blame, but it was the blatant stupidity of TWC to offer what they did.
    I sincerely hope this some how changes the face of the cable industry where consumers in the future will be allowed to choose exactly what channels they wish and do not wish to pay for. In the meantime, I hope some greedy TWC execs lose their jobs, and the Los Angeles dodgers fans will be able to see Vin Scully on TV before he retires.

  7. Mike says:

    Make a deal with TWC

  8. Mark says:

    The Dodgers have been very quiet on this subject, their needing revenue after overpaying for the team is the reason for this situation. Concession prices are high to the point of ridiculous, compare with Angel stadium. They made an unsustainable agreement with the duped management of TWC. I am sure at these meetings there was someone who claimed “don’t worry we have a lot of areas to raise revenue”. All on the backs of the fans and non fans as cable/satellite subscribers. Directv is certainly not innocent with their exclusivity of NFL Sunday Ticket.

  9. Bill says:

    Please don’t make me pay for something I’ll never watch! Someone should be protecting the consumer.

  10. Roy says:

    I am a verizon subcriber and my bill showed an increase when TWC chanel was add to watch the Lakers. MY bill is now $165.00 for internet, phone,and TV. TWC of course wants arbitration, they will get more money.

  11. Mike Valenzuela says:

    Been with Directv for years…this is going to end soon…despise what they have done concerning Dodgers

  12. Fred Gonzalez says:

    Years ago I left TWC for Direct TV. I like Direct TV. However, they are really misleading people here. They are accusing TWC of doing something that’s standard through out their industry. If you don’t watch, for example, cooking shows, you still pay for those cooking shows and have to share the burden of the cost so that those who do like cooking shows can watch cooking shows. Do you actually think that because you don’t watch Bravo, you are not paying for Bravo? Same for sports, if you don’t like the Clippers or the Kings, you are still paying for Fox Sports West. Every body subsidizes what everyone else watches. Trying to single out TWC for this practice is simply deceptive. Even worst, making Direct TV bigger hypocrites, is the practice of creating tiers to nickel and dime customers. They all do it, Direct TV is no exception. They bundle together popular channels with unpopular channels and make you pay for all of them. For example, I like soccer. They take the two most popular soccer channels and place them in separate tiers so that if you want the complete soccer experience, you have to buy more than one tier, and the rest of the tier is filled with useless channels. I would love a TV provider who would let you pay for all the channels individually, not in tiers. But they wont’ do that because they would all lose money. To offer only the Dodgers’ channel using this method, then pad yourself in the back as some king of customer’s hero, is outrageous. If you want to hate on TWC, I have no issues with that, but shame on Direct TV for using this lame argument of which they are equally guilty.

    • Dave Martin says:

      Hello Fred. Your argument is true; but you are leaving out some important details. While it’s true that everyone pays for Bravo even though not everyone watches the channel, the difference is the extreme cost. Bravo receives about $0.20 per subscriber. TWC wants over $4.00 per subscriber; and that number will go higher each and every year!! This is for one sport and one baseball team!!! Dodgers 24/7! You realize that you will still pay the same amount per month in the winter when there is nothing of interest on the Dodger channel. TWC wants even more money than ESPN which features NFL, MLB, World Cup, Golf, etc.

      • Joseph says:

        TWC has some balls (pun intended) to demand $5 a month per subscriber when the MLB Network is getting something like .28!

  13. Robert ortiz says:

    Why only have the dodgers network ala carte? If direct TV cared so much about their customers they would allow all their programming to be ala carte. I don’t watch 90% of their programming but I’m asked to pay for it. I will choose to opt out once my contract is up.

    • FreeAtLast says:

      I cut my cable years ago. The money I save is more than buying DVD sets for the shows I do want to watch. I have the satisfaction of not paying for channels I never watch not even to dial past.

    • David from Diamond Bar says:

      Robert really??? That’s your argument? Please.
      Lolo’s got it right. Staying with DirecTV I can see NFL Sunday ticket. Try that with TWC. TWC’s
      customer service sucks big time too.
      Lolo I’m going to try that way of watching the rest of the Dodgers season. Hope it works.
      Rob you can have your LASportsnet.. You’re one of those that bends over and says “thank you. May I have another” LOL!
      Kathy you got it right. **THANK YOU DIRECTV FOR NOT GIVING IN AND PROTECTING YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!**
      If Lolo’s solution works I can have my cake (NFL Sunday Ticket) and eat it too (Dodgers online).
      Let folks like Rob and his ilk pay for a ridiculous TWC/Stan Kasten “channel”.
      Go Angels!
      Go NFL!

  14. Lolo Brown says:

    Besides, the NFL season is just around the corner. In a few weeks this will all be moot!

  15. James says:

    I’m over not being able to see dodger games if it is not fixed soon I will be dropping directv

  16. Lolo Brown says:

    “EFF” TWC, Guggenheim Partners, DirecTV!
    Chrome browser + geo ip changer/masker add on + MLB TV = Dodgers telecast!
    Hope TWC and Guggies lose big on this one!!!

  17. Rob Smith says:

    I understand everyone’s frustration (except those who have access to TWC and choose to bitch rather than switch). Unfortunately, there is no winner here. DirecTv is as greedy as TWC and vice versa. Rates have already increased this year in one way, shape, or form. Pull up a statement from 1 year ago and compare it to this month’s bill. Unless you’re locked in to a promo rate, you’ll see an increase guaranteed. AT&T was increasing their fees associated with their cable boxes and remotes before I left them earlier this year … DirecTv increased programming costs a few months ago …. all of this while NOT having your Dodgers.

    With respect to an a-la-carte Dodger’s channel, given that it is not the norm, it’s not going to happen. I can’t believe people think it’s ok for a Dodger’s a-la-carte channel yet it’s ok to pay for 10 home improvement channels and 7 home shopping channels. Even though one channel doesn’t necessarily cost the projected cost of a Dodger’s channel, a combination of use-less channels easily surpasses.

    Ok. Nuff said. Time to put on SportsnetLA …. #ITFDB

  18. Dan says:

    If you think this is a dust-up, DirecTV hasn’t seen anything yet if it does not have the SEC Network by Monday. The southeast United States is about to hit DirecTV was a loss of subscribers like it has never seen before.

  19. Kathy Mora says:

    I totally agree with the following statement, ““Rather than force everyone to bail Time Warner Cable out, the simplest solution is to enable only those who want to pay to see the remaining Dodgers games to do so at the price Time Warner Cable wants to set,” DirecTV said in a statement.
    **THANK YOU DIRECTV FOR NOT GIVING IN AND PROTECTING YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!**

  20. Mike Holliday says:

    Lets not forget the biggest travesty of this whole mess….we have the Legend Vin Scully doing most of the TV broadcasts and 70% of the Dodger Fans did not get to hear these games….and how many more broadcasts will Vin do??? This is a SHAME on these Billionaires.

  21. Marbleman169 says:

    I’m over it, same thing happen with the lakers. If they don’t want us to watch them play, sow be it.
    I myself am not wearing anything that represent the dodger this year. They don’t give a “F” about us! Why should I. One person won’t hurt them. But that’s how I feel.
    We the consumers lose all around… It’s billionaire’s fighting billionaires… Plus I don’t think they will win anything this year… Another thing, it’s a slow game, and losing popularity. But they want us to pay for it! Good luck…

  22. Darrel says:

    I agree with most, also a Dodger fan since the 60’s. Really, its time we were not forced to buy 100 channels to watch 10. The system doesnt work anymore. What happens next year when “ClipperNation” needs their own channel?

    • Arthur Gomez says:

      I totally agree with U, I’m a Dodgers die hard fan but I’m currently on strike against the boys of summer right now. I’am not buying Dodgers tickets, merchandise, ETC. It was US the fans who make all this possible and yet you turn your back on the fans when it comes down 2 it. Let’s not forget that it was the Dodgers owners who wanted their own channel so they are as guilty as TWC. We may have been better off with Mc Court as owner at least we were able 2 see the games! Seriously Dodgers fans boycott Dodgers stadium just like we did with Mc Court and that channel will be showing on all stations next month..

  23. Catherine Parker says:

    I’m so sick of not watching the dodgers/and hearing vin, maybe the dodgers need to give some money back to resolve this issue

  24. Lorena says:

    My boyfriend and I are huge Dodger fans and it seems unfair that we are unable to watch any of the games unless its a ESPN SundAy night game. What TWC has done is completely unfair and selfish. The Dodgers management team should have taken care of this issue after the 1st month of the channel being broadcasted or at least month after opening day,but no it’s not until after the ASG that something is finally being done and even then not everyone will get to watch the game,like those who have DirectTv (like myself). I would pay the a la carta if DirectTv offered it but I don’t want to pay fortune for it especially if we are more than half way thru the season .

    • Jeff says:

      Disagree some. Dodgers were selfish and greedy. TWC was stupid and naive. And the whole system is out of control. A channel per team? Ridiculous. No reason why SportsNet that carries the Lakers that we ALREADY pay for could not likewise carry the Dodgers (for rare conflicts, sell game another carrier!).

      • Kathy Mora says:

        I also agree with you Jeff! Greedy, greedy. greedy…. If Dodgers President Stan Kasten really wants Dodger fans to see Dodger games, he should give back the money!

      • Lorena says:

        I agree with you Jeff. Dodgers also got greedy. I suppose they sensed since the Dodgers have a huge fan base that the fans would fork the bill including those not fans of the game. I dont understand why the Dodgers would have they’re own channel? Don’t get me wrong I’m a big Dodger fan but they having their own channel is a big too much,there is only so much you can watch,it would only be good for just the game and a few interviews afterwards and game highlights but afterwards it would get boring. It would make better sense if they shared a channel,but it’s becoming a joke seeing every LA team having their own channel and in the long run we the consumers fork the bill. That being said I also don’t like the fact we pay so much for tv services when not all the channels are used,if anything I only see a small fraction of those 200+ channels. The prices are only getting higher too.

  25. Tom Pollard says:

    I pay for 250 plus channels to get the programming I want from DirecTV. I actually only watch about twenty five of those channels, But I pay for the other 225 channels. If we go ala carte, then let’s truly go ala carte and share the true wealth of pay television. We could also dump the NFL package and let me just get the teams I want there as well. So come on, we can break this down all day but the bottom line is we pay $3.00 a month for PrimeTicket, 12.99 for some sports package that gets nothing from DirecTV so let me shut these off and get sportsnet LA and I break even. Go Dodgers.

  26. Joseph Giannone says:

    Everybody pays for channels they don’t watch. If that wasn’t the case I would have a plan that had 10 channels on it. With DirecTv if I want the NHL channel I have to get the next package up that comes with 30 other channels I’ll never watch. All of you that are mad at the Dodgers you just don’t get it. If you want to become Angel fans, please do. You’ll fit right in with that little monkey.

  27. As a Dodgers fan, I DO NOT want to see TWC force other Sat/Cable TV viewers to pay for Dodgers package. If that means I do not get to see Dodgers on TV, so be it. As a consumer, the price for Cable/Sat TV is already high enough. Enough is enough.

    • David from Diamond Bar says:

      I totally agree with Gene. I’m still PO’s at TWC (cancelled my Internet with them), The Dodgers and especially Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson who never said anything or showed support for us long time Dodger fans. I’m becoming an Angel fan.

      Even the hated Frank McCourt was able to keep the Dodgers on TV. I’ve watched the Dodgers and supported them since the ’60’s. On over the air TV, Cable TV, Satellite TV etc. Leave it to Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson and the rest of the group to take the Dodgers away from LA. I’ve been invited by friends and family several times to go to Dodger games. I said no.

      Like Gene said… Enough is a enough!

      Thanks a lot Magic. You went from an LA hero to a zero.

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