Los Angeles-area viewers will get to watch the Dodgers for free this season — for 10 games, at least.
Charter Communications’ Spectrum Networks announced Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Tribune Broadcasting to air 10 Dodgers games in April and May on Tribune’s KTLA. The local station will simulcast the feed from Spectrum SportsNet LA, the Dodgers-owned cable channel that holds exclusive rights to telecast the team’s games.
The move comes with no progress imminent on any carriage deal that would make Dodgers games available to more Southern California television viewers — many of whom have been without regular access to games for three years.
In 2014, Time Warner Cable — since purchased by Charter — paid $8.35 billion over 25 years for exclusive rights to market SportNet LA. However, Charter has been unable to secure carriage deals with several Southern California television providers, most notably DirecTV, meaning that the team’s games have been unavailable for most Los Angeles area viewers besides subscribers to Charter’s Spectrum service.
“If fans want to see SportsNet LA and Dodgers games, they need to switch to Charter’s Spectrum service,” a Charter spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “At this point we don’t expect any other distributors to carry SNLA by Opening Day.”
In November, the Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against DirecTV and its owner, AT&T, alleging that DirecTV acted as the ringleader in an illegal collusion effort that kept the Dodgers from negotiating carriage deals with other providers.
KTLA last season aired six Dodgers games — the last six of legendary broadcaster Vin Scully’s career. The first of KTLA’s 10 simulcasts this season will be Wednesday April 5, when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres at home. The last will be be May 7 at 1 p.m., when the Dodgers visit the Padres. Other games will be April 9, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, and 30, and May 3. KTLA will also broadcast Scully’s induction into the Dodgers Ring of Honor prior to the May 3 game.