DirecTV gets the Dodgers as AT&T, SportsNet LA end years-long standoff

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Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in to applaud the new distribution deal between AT&T and Spectrum SportsNet LA. (DirecTV)

AT&T and Spectrum SportsNet LA, TV home for the Los Angeles Dodgers, have reached a new distribution agreement, ending a lengthy carriage dispute.

AT&T TV, DirecTV, U-verse TV and AT&T TV Now customers in Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii will gain access to SportsNet LA’s live game coverage, which will come in handy when the new MLB season hopefully starts later this year.

The agreement comes after years of bitter disputes between the regional sports network and distributors. Time Warner Cable launched SportsNet LA in 2014 after the cable company landed a 25-year, $8.35 billion deal to broadcast the Dodgers. Charter took ownership of the channel when it bought Time Warner Cable and inherited the RSN’s distribution difficulties.

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In 2016, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit accusing AT&T’s satellite unit, DirecTV, of being behind a campaign to prevent SportsNet LA from carriage from distributors. AT&T argued the reason other distributors weren’t picking up the channel was because “no one wanted to force all of their customers to pay the inflated prices that Time Warner Cable was demanding for a channel devoted solely to L.A. Dodgers baseball.”

Now, though, the dispute is over and even the mayor weighed in on the enormous significance of the deal.

“Our city has the best sports fans in the world, and they want to enjoy all of the excitement and tradition that Dodger games bring to Los Angeles. I’m very pleased that Spectrum Sports and AT&T have reached this agreement, which will bring Dodger games into the homes of AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-verse TV and AT&T TV NOW customers when the season begins and give more Angelenos the chance to cheer for our favorite team all the way to the World Series,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement.

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“As anxious as we all are for the ongoing pandemic to end and for the 2020 season to begin, we now have even more reason to be excited because this agreement will make Dodger baseball games and programming available for our fans on Spectrum, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW,” said Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a statement. “I want to thank AT&T and Spectrum Networks for coming together on this agreement. We are eager to get this season started once it is deemed safe to do so everywhere.”

With the Dodgers season still on hold, SportsNet LA will air “Dodgers Squeeze Play,” a one-hour Dodgers telecast replay format. On Thursday, the network will air a full day of episodes highlighting the best games from the 2019 season. The channel will also air encore presentations of the Dodgers 1988 NLCS wins over the New York Mets, and the team’s victories over the Oakland Athletics to win the 1988 World Series.

SportsNet LA will be available on AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW to in-region customers with the Choice and above TV packages. The network now appears on DIRECTV channel 690 to in-region customers with Choice and above packages and Mas Ultra and above Spanish packages. U-verse TV customers with the U-100 and above packages and U200 Latino and above packages can watch on channel 780 (SD) and 1780 (HD).