Congress Jumps into Dodger Broadcast Dispute
Capps Stays on Sidelines But Calls Impasse 'Very Unfortunate'
Congressmember Lois Capps said she found impasse between Time Warner Cable and most of the cable companies serving Southern California over the broadcasts of Los Angeles Dodger baseball games “to be very unfortunate,” adding that it’s gone on “far too long.” While Capps expressed hope that all the parties could resolve their outstanding differences so that baseball fans could enjoy “the second half of the season,” she was not among the eight California congressmembers who petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to intervene.
In response, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler put Time Warner executive Robert Marcus on notice and stipulated a specific timeline detailing how the dispute will be resolved in expeditious fashion. Time Warner has demanded $4-$5 a month per basic service subscriber in exchange for Dodger game programming, carried by the Dodger-owned SportsNet LA. Cable companies — like Cox — have objected not only to the high price but also to imposing such a burden on basic-service subscribers, many of whom might have little interest in Dodger games.
The issue has been a thorn in the side for Southland sports fans since the season started, and it has picked up steam as the Dodgers hit first place, its pitchers posting no fewer than two no-hitters. Although Capps did not participate in the request for FCC intervention, she supported it, said her spokesperson Chris Meagher.