While the 2020 season remains paused, many Dodgers fans can now at least look forward to catching their team in action when MLB resumes play. An agreement has at long last been reached that will bring Dodgers games back to many televisions in Southern California, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports (Twitter link) and has now been announced.
The 2013 creation of the Spectrum SportsNet LA network — jointly owned by the Dodgers and Charter Communications — promised more content, but came with a catch. Carriage fees agreements were not forthcoming between SportsNet LA and TV providers such as Direct TV and Dish Network. That left an effective blackout for large swaths of the market.
Now, SportsNet LA has a deal in place with AT&T to carry Dodgers games on Direct TV and other AT&T-owned outlets. Other major providers still don’t have deals in place with SportsNet LA, so the situation hasn’t yet improved for all fans. But many will now be able to watch games as before. And perhaps this agreement is cause for optimism that bargains can be struck with the other providers as well.
The timing is obviously interesting, with the Dodgers staring at a major loss of revenue in 2020. With an increasing likelihood that MLB will stage contests without fans for at least part of a truncated season, it’s all the more important for the team to deliver its media content to fans. Whether the coronavirus pandemic specifically prompted this agreement isn’t known. No doubt we’ll learn more as further details emerge.