With much of Los Angeles unable to view Dodgers games throughout the season, Time Warner Cable on Monday said it has reached a deal with L.A. independent station KDOC to carry the final six regular season games.
The Dodgers are in a race for the National League West division championship.
Time Warner Cable said that the remaining games of the season will be shown on KDOC starting Sept. 22. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
KDOC is a lower-profile broadcast station serving the L.A. market out of Orange County. However it has broad carriage on Southern California-area MVPDs — distribution that the Dodgers’ new channel has sorely lacked this season as Time Warner Cable battled other distributors on carriage pacts for the regional sports cabler.
The Dodgers would undoubtedly have been a draw for more prominent stations in the market with more notice, but KDOC was able to quickly clear its primetime schedule to accommodate the games. If the Dodgers make it to the divisional finals, the games will be available on a national basis via Fox and Fox Sports 1.
Lawmakers and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler have placed pressure on TW Cable to reach an agreement with other multichannel providers, including DirecTV, for carriage of Dodgers channel SportsNet LA. But DirecTV has balked at the terms, contending that they are too high and that their subscribers should be allowed to decide whether they want to pay for the channel.
In a statement, Wheeler credited the pressure brought by U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti for keeping “this issue in the forefront.” Wheeler promised also promised that “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.”
TW Cable said that it has agreed to binding arbitration to resolve the impasse, but other cable and satellite providers have refused.
“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,” said Dinni Jain, chief operating officer of TW Cable.
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.