Ever since Time Warner Cable spent over $8 billion for the right to distribute the Los Angeles Dodgers channel, SportsNet LA, people have wondered why any TV provider would pay the reported $4-$5 per customer that Time Warner Cable is demanding (whether the customer wants it or not).
SportsNet LA is now in its fourth month of being blacked out across California as Time Warner Cable has failed to come to agreements with DirecTV, Dish, Verizon, AT&T and others.
Because of this continued blackout and political pressure being applied, Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers are now lowering their asking price to other TV providers at an affordable rate for the general public.
Just kidding. Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers are now considering suing the TV providers because they are desperate believe that the TV providers are illegally teaming up against SportsNet LA.
Wait, what? As the Los Angeles Times puts it:
At issue: Are all the cable and satellite operators saying no to SportsNet LA acting independently or collectively? The latter would be a violation of antitrust law.
Let me get this straight. Time Warner Cable overpays for the Dodgers channel. Nobody wants to touch their demands for the channel. And it is the other TV providers fault? Time Warner Cable says its asking price for SportsNet LA is fair. Everyone else on planet earth disagrees including many Dodgers fans.
Thankfully, the LA Times contacted a local antitrust lawyer who seemed to put it plainly:
“In an antitrust suit, Time Warner Cable would get laughed out of court if the only evidence was that no one is carrying the channel,” said Daniel Lazaroff, professor of sports law and antitrust law at Loyola Law School.
“If people are refusing to deal with Time Warner unilaterally, making their own business decisions,” Lazaroff said, “I don’t see a problem with that.”
As the lawyer puts it, the only way that Time Warner Cable wins a case like this is if they magically find a written agreement between the other TV providers which specifically discusses not signing on with SportsNet LA……which does not exist.
Time Warner Cable can’t seem to keep their story straight in regards to programming.
When Time Warner Cable doesn’t want to carry programming from another TV provider?
CBS has demanded an outrageous increase for programming that CBS delivers free over the air and online, requiring us to remove their stations from your lineup while we continue to negotiate for fair and reasonable terms,” Time Warner Cable wrote in an on-screen notice to subscribers. “We regret this inconvenience, but feel it is crucial that we let CBS know that we’re willing to do what it takes to keep down the price of TV.” – Time.com
When Time Warner Cable is carrying the programming?
“SportsNet LA is available on fair terms consistent with its value.” – CNBC.com