Charter's Rutledge promises to end Dodgers channel impasse in L.A.

Just hours after his company announced its $56.7 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Tom Rutledge, Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) president and CEO, promised to end the impasse that has paralyzed TWC's SportsNet LA regional sports network. 

"We are going to get the Dodgers on," Rutledge told the Los Angeles Times. "We want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen."

Charter's 300,000 Los Angeles-area subscribers will have access to the exclusive RSN home of the Major League Baseball team within a few weeks, Rutledge said. But that is just a start. SportsNet LA has been available to TWC's 2.3 million local video customers since it launched in March 2014, but an impasse remains with the region's No. 2 operator, DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), which controls 1.7 million video subscriptions in the area.

AT&T U-verse (NYSE: T), Verizon FiOS (NYSE: VZ) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) also have market share in the L.A. area. 

TWC signed an $8.35 billion licensing deal with the Dodgers in 2013 to lock up exclusive local broadcast rights to the team. Rival pay-TV operators have balked at the per-subscriber carriage fee demanded by TWC to offset this price, resulting in most of the L.A. pay-TV market being blacked out from Dodgers games not covered by national networks like ESPN.

Chastising from local politicians and the FCC has not been able to shake loose a deal. 

"Charter is committed to carrying SportsNet LA as soon as possible," said Time Warner Cable spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi told the Times. "We're excited for Charter customers to enjoy the network's games and in-depth programming."

For more:
- read this Los Angeles Times story

Related links:
TWC SportsNet LA: There are no serious carriage talks, and there never were
Beating TWC SportsNet LA carriage problem spurs newspaper's dubiously legal IP masking guide
TWC says there will be no write-down on SportsNet LA

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