By Jon Weisman
While saying that he expected the start of the Major League season in the U.S. to be a catalyst for holdout distributors to carry SportsNet LA, the 24/7 network dedicated to the Dodgers, team president and CEO Stan Kasten didn’t shrug off the fact that deals had yet to be completed.
“I am disappointed that deals haven’t been closed yet,” Kasten told a small group of reporters before Thursday’s Freeway Series game against the Angels, the first game at Dodger Stadium in 2014. “I also have to tell you that with the first regular season game (to be broadcast by SportsNet LA) coming on Tuesday, I am now concerned that some fans are not going to be able to see games. And that’s disappointing and shouldn’t be happening.”
Kasten reiterated the suggestion for fans to keep calling their providers to tell them that they want SportsNet LA and that without it, they would switch to a provider who would carry the network. But he again held out hope that with continuous fan support there would be movement – because ultimately every carrier has reason to want SportsNet LA to meet the demand.
“I just wish they would hurry up and get them done,” he said.
Though Time Warner Cable’s reported asking price for carriage of SportsNet LA has become a talking point in the media, Kasten said that it has been exaggerated.
“This is not about price,” Kasten said. “The price is consistent with the marketplace. In fact, to be blunt, some of these (distributors), and they know who they are, are already, on their own systems, paying more than the price that’s out there to teams in smaller markets. That’s the truth. So this isn’t about price, it’s about the game of negotiation. And it’s disappointing.
“Those same providers have done deals at higher prices, for bigger packages, than has been offered to them right now.”
Kasten found other aspects of the public posturing by potential distributors to be “disingenuous,” such as the suggestion that SportsNet LA should be offered “a la carte,” along the lines of a pricy individual pay channel such as HBO, rather than to all of a distributor’s customers the way an ESPN is.
“All these providers know there is not another team in all of baseball whose games are a la carte, anywhere,” Kasten said, “including, interestingly enough, on the cable systems owned by these same providers.”
“The other thing that’s particularly irritating in terms of disingenuous rhetoric is when someone tries to say, ‘Well, we’re not really seeing the demand for Dodger games.’ OK, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.”
Kasten had noted earlier than the evening that the Dodgers would reach 3 million in ticket sales before the April 4 home opener, the earliest date in franchise history.
“We have the highest number of season tickets we’ve ever had — it is the highest in all of Major League Baseball,” Kasten added. “Last year, our TV rating went up by 40%. So come up with some other excuse, because the reality is that in the history of this franchise, it is likely that right now, it’s the greatest interest our team has ever had.”
For Dodger fans understandably frustrated by the process, Kasten commented upon the importance of the deal to the organization being run as a big-market team and being able to do big-market things, from investment in players to the ongoing improvements at Dodger Stadium, none of which benefited from public funding.
“I don’t know what will happen here,” Kasten said. “I will say this — very few cities have a product this strong.”
I’m very disappointed too!
I agree with most of your statement. But it wasn’t O’Malley who kicked the residents out. There was supposed to be a new planned community with better housing and schools for the residents of Chavez Ravine. Due to problems with the original planners and the city (after people had been kicked out) O’Malley purchased the land, of what he thought was a failed real-estate program. What happened in Chavez Ravine was horrible, and is part of Dodger history, but it wasn’t O’Malley who did the kicking out. But right now it is the Dodger organization kicking most of the So. Cal. fans out of being able to watch their team.
Point well-taken, Scott. I should have left Walter out of it. In fact, I miss the O’Malley ownership.
A Curse on Time Warner. Last season, fans were able to tune their TV to 50 out of the 162 regular season games free of charge. This season, that number is zero.
Not everyone wants or gets cable TV. Some of us stream. Some of us use antennas. In fact, Los Angeles has more air-signal receptors than anywhere in the United States. Three quarters of a million homes, 13 percent of the population, use TV antennas — dog ear, bow tie, dipole, Yagi, and reflector — for TV viewing. In these squeeze-the-middle-class times, some of us can’t afford shelling out close to what it costs for a month of groceries for cable. And so, we’ve been shut of home team baseball. Times change. Thanks to Time Warner, a significant number of Angelenos and their children will have more access to porn than they will to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There are ghosts at Chavez Ravine where, in 1957, Walter O’Malley cast out thousands of low-income residents, mostly of Mexican descent, to build Dodger Stadium. I can hear their spirits weeping in the hills — Los Angeles down below. May those spirits haunt this team. May a cold wind blow in from the outfield when a Dodger connects. Without the cheering of the less fortunate — without the grace to share with every citizen of Los Angeles — the Dodgers are a commodity that future generations may choose to disconnect. A curse on Time Warner.
Dodger Fan Weekly (@DodgerFanWeekly)
And our take is like that of most Dodger fans… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiXZyWl6O54&list=PLSbNkU-VNfwb6zfBVdSheX-XYxHFPr-RA
Calling your distributor to add the dodger channel is basically asking your distributor to charge you more money. The Stan Kasten’s of the world have no difficulty paying more…some of us do.
But times change. Other baseball teams, European football teams, they use this model where all of their games are on a pay channel. We were lucky to make it through 2013 with free broadcasts.
But Kasten can take his recommendation and shove it you know where.
…”I am now concerned that some fans are not going to be able to see games. And that’s disappointing and shouldn’t be happening.”
How about all the fans who don’t buy into cable or satellite at all? You knew from the start that this deal was blocking them out of watching games no matter what (with antenna or online from MLB.com), but I guess those fans just aren’t important enough.
We should have known when the payroll skyrocketed we regular fans can pack it in and root for little league teams ’cause Stan only needs money from the wealthy and we obviously do not spend enough for his liking.
Los Angeles is the only major market big league baseball city that will offer no live over-the air broadcasts. This has more to do with greed, than with bad “luck.”
I completely agree,
Well Stan,,,while we appreciate what you have done for the team and the Stadium, did you really not think we fans that do not have TWC wouldn’t be screwed? My provider, DirectTV, wouldn’t have us pony up 50 cents a month for our Pac-12 network to see the only football teams we have in LA,,,,you knew damn well Direct would not pony up 5 bucks a month for baseball.
It is sad that there is not one team of any sport in LA that can be seen at least once on Antenna TV. It is pretty obvious sports are becoming the bastion of the wealthier Americans and the ones that do need and use i it for their temporary escape form the world will have to find a way without sports. Me personally, I can’t fathom the team that came to us when I was a boy has been taken away form us now that I am a senior. Yet,,it has happened.
Stan, why would you really care, you got paid and isn’t that what it is really about for you?
PS: I am a season ticketholder but I suspect you will be selling my seats to a richer person net year.
Matthew Taylor (@MattWTaylor)
To Stan Kasten. Waaaahhh… YOU’RE disappointed?
The problem is that my provider probably isn’t paying any less for FS Prime Ticket, and so adding Sportsnet LA is only going to add up their costs – which they are going to mark up and pass on to me. I know the owners need to recoup their investment, and I know this move was probably inevitable, but it pretty much sucks for fans.
Time Warner intends to pass along a charge of $5 a year to every cable TV subscriber whose carrier offers Dodger Baseball, whether those subscribers actually “upgrade” to SportsNet LA or not.
The fee they are talking about is $5 per MONTH, for every subscriber. So basically, the Dodgers are demanding that every household in Los Angeles, fan or not, pay $60 per year for the privilege of living in the Dodger coverage area.
It is nonsensical.
BTW .. don;t let the Dodgers pretend that they have nothing to do with it. They have a lot of stake and a lot of influence. They should get just as much pressure from the fans as the cable providers.
Dodger fans … PRESSURE BOTH SIDES!
Stan Kasten, you are disconnected completely from what the actual marketplace is. TV costs have exceeded what the marketplace can bear and providers and subscribers aren’t going to take it anymore. The comment that the costs of the channel is inline with the marketplace is pure BS and you know it. So get on board here and treat Dodger fans with dignity.
It’s just another thing coming home to roost and put the regular fan at disadvantage. You guys overbid for the franchise, and did it in collusion with Frank McCourt, who still hangs around on the fringes. You guys negotiated the overbid deal with the cable company, and that’s why seeing the games becomes equally overpriced. Indeed, the curse be on you, Guggenheimers, and you Kasten, and Magic, etc., etc., etc.
How can Stan just stand there and tell Dodger fans to call their cable providers to warn them we will switch if they don’t give us Dodger baseball when it’s the Dodgers themselves that took Dodger baseball away from us. We grew up watching games in the comfort of our own homes with local tv and directv and now we only have one option and that is to pay.
I’m not about to call my provider to get what I could get automatically last year. I left Time Warner for FIOS years ago because TIME WARNER SUCKS!!!! Nothing, not even the Dodgers can get me to change back, so I’m not going to be disingenuous (as you are being Stan) and beg to see my Dodgers.
If I want to watch baseball on TV I guess I’ll just watch the Angels and I’ll go to my 4-5 games at the ravine. Never thought I’d be excited to watch the playoffs on TNT/TBS/FOX so I can actually watch my team.
Thanks for the tip as I was contemplating dropping Fios for TWC. Not worth it.
We are going to have to start being Angels fans. Sorry we love the Dodgers but we love baseball more.
Kasten wants me to call my provider and threaten to switch to TWC who I dumped two years ago because of their horrible performance? That is laughable! How about the Dodgers going back to regular television and finding another way to make $210 million a year!
“This is not about price,” Kasten said. “The price is consistent with the marketplace.”
At the reported $4+ a month per subscriber, TWC is charging more for the Dodgers than YES is for the Yankees ($2.99/subscriber).
And as a point of reference, DISH still hasn’t picked up TWCSN (which costs $3.22/subscriber) with the Lakers’ broadcast.
I am seeking advise from those a little Smarter than I am and HOPE that My Idea will be taken so enough for now…. All the Kasten Words are really BS too me….
Stan you know full well that this is about TWC and LA Dodgers GREED. As much as I want to see the Dodger games I will not switch to TW, nor will I spend another nickel at Dodger Stadium as long as you greedy assholes continue to hold the fans hostage.
A Whole New Blue Report
I am very disappointed to Stan but money has everything to do with it. You need money to pay the players, you need money to pay overhead and keep other workers happy. You need money to keep the owners and board happy. You need money for the future, you need money to survive. If it’s not about money then what is it? If it’s not about money we would be able to watch the dodger games on my HD TV. If it’s not about money why are the ticket prices going up? If it’s not about money then why is there an increase in parking lot fees from $10 to $15 since the McCourt years. It is all about money Stan! You can’t fool me or the the many other dodger fans! Can’t bullshit the bullshitter! I knew this day was coming ever since you guys traded for the four players from Boston and you signed Either I had a feeling this was going to happen and you were some how going to screw over the low income families who are only going to be able to watch a game once a year instead once a month or even twice a month! I am very disappointed in the dodgers ownership right now!
I just hope TWC can perform if other cable operators make deals with them to carry the Sportsnet LA Dodger station. I cancelled TWC when they were forced upon me when they took over Adelphia. My TV picture, my internet connection, their customer service and their tech support was so lousy I changed to FIOS. I am disappointed not to have the ability to watch Dodger games but should I have the opportunity because Verizon makes a deal with TWC I hope the picture coming from TWC will be a good picture on my TV. What I was use to when TWC was my cable provider was the picture cracking with lines through it on many of my channels making it impossible to watch! If that is the quality we will get if they distribute the picture perhaps we would just be better off listening to the Dodgers on 570 AM radio!
Denise Diplock Ramirez
Wow…I was really sure that there would be a deal by opening day. I live 20 minutes from Dodger Stadium and can’t even get TWC. I currently have FIOS, and love it. I’ve never missed a game in many years, and this has really got me upset. I can watch Gameday on my iPad, but not the real game. It was nice to actually see a Dodger game last night, even if it was on the Angel’s Fox Sports West. I have contacted FIOS through phone, email, #ineedmydodgers, etc. Is it really up to the true blue fans to make this work? I almost feel that if I don’t do enough, I can’t enjoy my favorite pasttime. We have the 15-game mini-plan, and that’s the only time we can actually see the game. The prices have gone up as well. Most Opening Day tickets, start just under $100 per ticket, and we can’t buy them on the Dodger site, it must be done through a broker or someone trying to make big bucks on tickets they were able to acquire. A $70 ticket, they are selling for $170.
A very sad story,in deed, Denise. It’s all a BIG FAT mess!
I guess its back to the days of my youth, listening to Vin on the radio and keeping score on homemade scorecards…Or are you going to take the radio feed to subscription, satellite radio, too, Mr. Kasten? Thanks for unseating THAT parasite and his harridan from ownership, but you’re beginning to treat us fans with the same disregard…
Sorry but MLB has Blocked ALL AM Radio of the Dodgers to !! You have to Sign up with I HEART Radio but w/o the MLB Link all you get is Talk
Steve Caldera (@Steve_C_IWA)
“i’m so disappointed, yet I will gladly take that cable check deal from you and worry about subscribers at a later time.” You know what else sucks? MLB.tv blackouts. IT’S ALL ABOUT $$$. Fans after that. They act like this is a new problem. See LA LAKERS Negotiations prior to their new cable deal a couple years back. Same thing. NO ONE WANTED A 24-HOUR CHANNEL, NOR IS IT NECESSARY. All I want Is to see the damn games!
I agree, Steve. When I read the article, my first thought was “DUH”. Kasten is out of touch with us fans!! I continue to call 1-800-INEED MY (Dodgers), get connected to a Fios operator who does indeed say, “We are in negotiations.” Soooooo frustrating when, last year we could see EVERY SINGLE game between 3 channels. This girl loves her Dodgers and, though I’m sorry they started their own stupid channel, I will PAY the stupid fee
Kenny Kraly Jr
How about this Stan just get a deal done with providers to air the games on Directv. This should of been done already my goodness. #INeedMyDodgers
Listen to my case. I live in the High Desert about an 1:30 from Dodger Stadium. Stan Kasten said ” they would switch to a provider who would carry the network.” Eliminating all the other small companies that I have never even heard of, Time Warner is the only provider. Guess what where I live you can’t even switch to Time Warner. They do not provide there “service” up there. Then you got MLB.tv which is blacked out. So what do I have to do there Stan Kasten? What can I do. The Answer is nothing. I can not do anything about this. Sorry Stan buts its time to go on the internet and watch these games for free.
Time Warner and Stan Kasten needs to stop with the BS of #ineedmydodgers because this is there faults not the our TV Providers.
They act like people will switch to a provider that has the channel…but in reality most people are upset with this because they don’t have a Time Warner in their area and they can’t get it even if they wanted too. The Dodgers are forcing fans outside of TWs death grip to illegally stream the games online. That’s what I’ll be doing.
Well Jason it is obvious,,Stan expects us to move to a TWC area for our team. I wonder out of curiosity how much stock Stan holds in TWC.
Anna Garcia (@Monterey17)
I’ve been a loyal fan of the dodgers since I was a kid and my father took me to see the dodgers . At home we saw the Dodger games for free ! I can’t afford to go to the all the games . I am disappointed I won’t be able to see my Dodgers .