California regulators continue to take a "hands-off" approach to the fact that Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games are unavailable to 70 percent of fans thanks to a stalemate between Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC) SportsNet LA and surrounding cable, telco and satellite providers.
To recap: TWC bid $8.5 billion for the programming rights to the Dodgers for the next 25 years with the idea of shutting out competing operators who would then have to pay the MSO to carry the games. Those programmers balked at making the games part of their basic package, claiming the added $10 a month it would cost would drive subscribers to OTT. They then countered with a deal that would appeal to only the most rabid fans: making SportsNet LA a $25 a month premium channel.
TWC has taken a hardball approach, most recently issuing a statement that Dodger fans who want to see the games should consider switching to a provider that carries the network--a tough deal when the non-competitive MVPD playing field is taken into account.
"SportsNet LA is available on terms consistent with its value. We know that the rates for the network owned by this iconic franchise are in line with what other RSN's (Regional Sports Networks) around the country charge," the MSO said in a statement carried by techdirt.
Fans versus cable company would seem a brewing battleground into which regulators would jump. Not so--at least not yet--said the article.
"Regulators have chosen to treat these kinds of programming rate standoffs as just 'boys being boys,' but it's unclear how much longer their going to be willing to stand on the sidelines given how much politicians love to earn cheap, sports-related political brownie points," the story concluded.
- read this techdirt story
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