The Los Angeles Dodgers and their TV policy is right out of 1963.
That was when the Dodgers televised nine games every year — the nine played in San Francisco.
Oh, wait. Except those were in black and white.
The handful of games that get on to most Southern California cable providers … those are in color.
Isn’t progress something?
It was reported yesterday that the Dodgers have done nothing to address their TV issue. To wit: More than half of local consumers — those who do not get Charter Communications — will not be able to see the club on TV again this year.
Which is just crazy. Still.
If we didn’t know better, it would seem as if the Dodgers are intent on making sure as few people as possible will see their team play.
For the fourth consecutive season.
Ahead of the 2014 season, the club signed an $8.3 billion, 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable for local TV rights, as provided by the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA.
The Dodgers seem to believe that their responsibility ended there. Other area TV providers would deal with Time Warner and that would be that.
The problem is that Time Warner Cable badly overestimated how much those other companies would pay for the right to show every Dodgers game not being shown on national TV.
Time Warner wanted competitors such as DirecTV and Cox to pay $5 per subscriber per month — just for Dodgers games. The Dodgers would be one of the most expensive items on those packages, and their operators decided not to pass on the cost to consumers.
The Dodgers seemed sure customer pressure would force those companies to pony up, once fans realized the Dodgers were no longer part of their package. They even jumped in, via media releases and on their homepage, urging fans to contact their providers and demand they add the Dodgers, adding phone numbers of the recalcitrant companies.
Whatever pressure the Dodgers hoped for … it has not been enough to get the holdouts to budge.
Charter has bought Time Warner Cable, and presumably Charter’s subscribers will join those of the former Time Warner, and create a bigger pool of customers who get the Dodgers package. Even if they don’t want to pay $5 a month for a team that has not played in a World Series since 1988.
Still, more than half of SoCal’s TV subscribers, hundreds of thousands of them, will continue with no TV access to the club’s games. For the fourth season in succession.
And maybe some/many consumers are OK with that, which ought to concern the club.
The Dodgers love the $8.3 billion coming in, over a quarter century, but they remain party to a system that significantly limits their potential TV audience.
On this topic, the Dodgers remain stuck in the 1960s … when they showed those nine games a year from Candlestick.
Maybe they should go all the way back in time and show nine games in black and white.