KLTA-TV deal extended amid Dodgers’ television blackout

Major League Baseball franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers and Charter Communications, the company that markets regional pay-television channel SportsNet LA, have opted to extend their rights partnership with LA-based broadcaster KLTA-TV.

Under the deal, KLTA-TV will air 10 Dodgers games from the 2017 MLB season on a free-to-air basis as simulcasts of the SportsNet LA broadcast. 

SportsNet LA, which is operated by pay-television operator Time Warner Cable, holds the rights to broadcast almost all live Dodgers games in the Los Angeles area, but has failed to secure carriage deals with pay-television operators other than Charter since its launch in 2014.

KTLA-TV aired six Dodgers games last season and its 2017 schedule will commence with the April 5 clash against the San Diego Padres. The deal includes the showpiece May 3 game against the San Francisco Giants when retired Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be inducted into the Dodgers’ Ring of Honor.

Neither TWC or Charter Communications, which bought TWC last year, has been able to strike agreements with DirecTV or other local cable and satellite providers to air SportsNet LA. This means Charter is the only major pay-television distributor in Southern California to carry the channel.

In November, the US Department of Justice said it was suing telco AT&T and its DirecTV satellite operator for acting as the “ringleader” of a series of unlawful information exchanges between DirecTV and three of its competitors during carriage talks for SportsNet LA.

SportsNet LA launched in February 2014 as part of the Dodgers’ exclusive local rights deal with TWC. Time Warner Cable holds a 25-year deal, from 2014 to 2038, for the Dodgers’ media rights in an agreement worth $8.35bn (€7.88bn).