Home > Uncategorized > Most Los Angelenos will spend yet another year without Vin Scully on their TVs

Most Los Angelenos will spend yet another year without Vin Scully on their TVs

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a lot of things going for them right now. A viable championship roster. A forward-thinking front office that knows how to properly construct said roster. A glut of resources with which to improve the team. An incredibly deep farm system. Clayton Kershaw. Corey Seager. Yasiel Puig. A stadium with history but one that doesn’t feel archaic. Some new food items that, unlike abominable creations at other parks, won’t kill you just by looking at them. And, given the home city, aforementioned payroll, on-field product and the good sight lines, tickets to a Dodgers game remain generally affordable. 

The Dodgers also have Vin Scully. Unfortunately, most television-watching Southern Californians can’t say the same thing. The latest chapter in this depressing tome about the Dodgers’ maladroit and expensive TV deal with Time Warner Cable came Thursday. Following another failed attempt to strike an agreement wherein pay-TV providers such as DirecTV and Cox Communications would carry the Dodgers’ flagship station, SportsNet LA, a TWC spokesman said this:

“[Outstanding TV providers] rejected every offer we’ve made. … We’ve offered short-term deals and long-term deals, we’ve lowered the price by 30%, we’ve asked for arbitration, we’ve offered … the same thing they charge for their regional sports networks, we’ve told them we’d meet them any time, anywhere to negotiate and nothing has worked.”

And with that, more than half of the people living in the Los Angeles area will be without the Dodgers on TV for the third consecutive season.

I assume many locals in this predicament have grown accustomed to not seeing the Dodgers on TV. I know I have. Yet it sure doesn’t make this situation — which is mostly about corporate greed — any less frustrating.

I understand why those providers have not agreed to TWC’s terms. Many people in Los Angeles don’t care to watch the Dodgers. Some others care, but not enough to see their cable bills go up another $3-5 per month. In a world with so many ways to consume TV programming and where Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are producing their own original content, DirecTV, Cox and other carriers fear that throwing another channel onto the heap that many of their subscribers don’t want but have to pay for will cause them to cut the cord, as millions have done already.

This stalemate could be solved if TWC agreed to make SportsNet LA a premium channel that would give those who want the channel the option to pay for it and give those who don’t want it the option to bypass it. However, TWC is having none of that. After paying out $8.35 billion for the rights to the Dodgers for a quarter-century and after losing $100 million on the channel in 2014 and 2015, Time Warner isn’t looking to cover more losses.

But this isn’t just another season for the Dodgers. It’s Scully’s 67th and final one as the voice of the team. That fact has unfortunately led to some narrow-minded guilt-tripping from the MLB Commissioner’s office regarding the Time Warner fiasco. Said Rob Manfred a couple of weeks ago:

“The distribution dispute involving DirecTV, AT&T, COX and Verizon has gone on too long. The Dodgers’ massive fan base deserves to be able to watch Dodger games regardless of their choice of provider. The situation is particularly acute given that this is Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final season.”

Yes, if only there was a way for fans to watch more of their home team’s games. Major League Baseball wouldn’t know how to make that happen through MLB.TV, would they? No, of course they wouldn’t.

For local Dodgers fans still without SportsNet LA, there are a few routes you can go if you want to listen to Scully:

  1. Dust off that radio. Vin, even at age 88, does simulcasts for the first three innings on AM 570.
  2. Try something a little underhanded. Bypass MLB.tv’s blackout rules by obtaining a VPN or DNS server, make it look like you are actually watching from Mexico, connect your computer to your TV — like these guys did — and enjoy. 
  3. Cave in and go get yourself some Time Warner, Charter, Brighthouse or Champion cable.

Or you can come on out to the ballgame. You won’t hear Scully unless you are sitting directly underneath the press box that bears his name, but just for those who want to see the Dodgers more often, a ticket for a view like the one below will run you somewhere between $15-$35 depending on that game’s opponent and promotion. That’s not too bad. You know that a franchise with MLB’s highest-payroll, second-highest value and three consecutive division titles could demand more.IMG_1009.JPG

At least the drive of avarice at the center of the Dodgers’ TV dispute hasn’t reached the prices of tickets on some levels. Yet.

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