DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) released a statement Thursday, implying that Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) gave its new merger suitor, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), a sweetheart deal on regional sports network TWC SportsNet LA.
"We continue to hope TWC and the Dodger front office will compromise with the rest of Southern California's providers so all Dodger fans can watch their games without burdening everyone else with significantly higher fees," reads the DirecTV statement.
On May 26, only hours after Charter announced its intention to buy TWC for $56.7 billion, Charter president and CEO Tom Rutledge announced that his MSO would begin carrying the exclusive TV home to Major League Baseball's L.A. Dodgers for its 300,000 Southern California-area residential video subscribers.
On June 9, for the first Dodgers game in which SportsNet LA was carried by Charter, the channel averaged a 1.31 Nielsen household rating and an estimated 103,871 viewers, nearly doubling its season average.
Since SportsNet LA launched in March 2014, its carriage has been confined to the 1.7 million pay-TV homes in the L.A. region serviced by TWC. The MSO is losing about $100 million a year, with No. 2 operator DirecTV (which controls around 1.2 million pay-TV homes in the L.A. region) refusing to pay TWC's price for the channel.
Charter serves nearly 300,000 homes in the Los Angeles region, including residences in Long Beach, Glendale, Burbank, parts of Pasadena, Malibu, Whittier and Riverside.
TWC signed a huge broadcast rights licensing deal with the Dodgers in January 2013, agreeing to pay the team $8.35 billion over 25 years for its exclusive local TV rights.
Charter to carry TWC's SportsNet LA starting with Tuesday's Dodgers game
Charter's Rutledge promises to end Dodgers channel impasse in L.A.
TWC SportsNet LA: There are no serious carriage talks, and there never were