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Dodgers TV blackout is over; Spectrum deal puts SportsNet LA on DirecTV, AT&T TV

Jorge Castillo and Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

LOS ANGELES -- If there's a baseball season in 2020, many more Los Angeles Dodgers fans across the region will finally be able to watch their team from home.

Spectrum announced Wednesday it reached an agreement to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers' television home, on AT&T video platforms, including DirecTV, AT&T TV, U-Verse TV and AT&T Now in Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii, beginning immediately.

SportsNet LA started airing Wednesday on DirecTV Channel 690. U-Verse TV also has already picked up SportsNet LA. AT&T and AT&T TV Now are scheduled to add the channel April 8.

The deal ends a seven-year stalemate between the two parties since the Dodgers agreed to a record 25-year, $8.35 billion television deal in January 2013 and granted Time Warner Cable exclusive marketing rights for the channel. SportsNet LA launched in 2014.

The length of the agreement was not disclosed. And while it expands the number of households with the channel, the deal does not include several other pay-TV providers in the area, including Frontier, Cox and Dish Network. Their customers remain without SportsNet LA.

"Our interest in SportsNet LA hasn't changed," Cox Communications spokesman Todd Smith said. "If we can get a reasonable deal that doesn't overburden our entire video customer base in the market, we'd love to carry the content. Now more than ever we're doing everything we can to keep customers connected to people and things they care about at an affordable price."

 

Charter Communications bought Time Warner four years ago, but had been unable to reach an agreement with DirecTV and other local providers. SportsNet LA had reached less than half of the Southern California market. That finally changed Wednesday.

The baseball season, which would have been underway, is delayed indefinitely because of the coronavirus crisis.

"I want to thank AT&T and Spectrum Networks for coming together on this agreement," Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement. "We are eager to get this season started once it is deemed safe to do so everywhere."

While some Dodgers fans immediately reacted on social media suggesting the announcement must be an April Fool's joke, it was no joke that fans had missed six years of highlights -- including Vin Scully's final years, Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter, and six consecutive National League West championships.

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