Pity the poor residents of the City of Angels and their struggles with sports. The nation’s second largest metropolitan area spent most of the last thirty years without a football team (although next season they will have two.) In baseball they have been home to one of the first teams in the league to have moved from city to city, but Brooklynites still hold a grudge for losing the Dodgers. And of course, for the last several years, well-meaning and hopeful baseball fans have stood by helplessly as televised games were available only through the universally-reviled Time Warner Cable. If you had anything resembling a normal pay-TV service, you were locked out.
DIRECTV and DISH still have no plans to carry Dodgers baseball (although you can get non-blacked-out games through the MLB.TV package.) That hasn’t changed, but there’s a small glimmer of hope on the horizon – local channel KTLA 5 will be airing ten games in the first five weeks of the season. That’s roughly one third of the total games between opening day and May 3. According to TV News Check, channel 5 will also air the pregame Access Sportsnet Dodgers and the Vin Scully Ring of Honor ceremony in its entirety on Wednesday, May 3, starting at 6 p.m. local time. You’ll see the games on satellite and even on free TV if you have an antenna.
Here are the games that will air on free TV:
Wednesday, April 5 6:30pm vs. San Diego Padres
Sunday, April 9 12:00pm at Colorado Rockies
Wednesday, April 12 5:00pm at Chicago Cubs
Sunday, April 16 1:00pm vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Tuesday, April 18 6:30pm vs. Colorado Rockies
Wednesday, April 19 7:00pm vs. Colorado Rockies
Sunday, April 23 1:00pm at Arizona Diamondbacks
Sunday April 30 1:00pm vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Wednesday May 3 6:00pm vs. San Francisco Giants
Sunday, May 7 1:00pm at San Diego Padres
If this partnership works well for both parties, you might see more games on channel 5. Spectrum, the new corporate entity that used to be Time Warner Cable, freely admits that their SportsNet LA channel has been a failure and anyone with common sense will realize that it’s going to be impossible to make up for the billions of dollars that need to be paid to the Dodgers organization over the 25-year contract that was originally signed. They originally planned on charging up to $8 per month per subscriber, and when that didn’t work, they dropped the prices. To date, only Spectrum and a few other small providers are showing the channel; DIRECTV, DISH, Comcast and other giants steadfastly refuse, citing low demand or saying the price is still too high.
Keep in mind that while large, the Los Angeles ,arket (as of the 2017 football season) will be home to two baseball teams, two football teams, two hockey teams, three basketball teams (including the WNBA) and a spate of other major sports franchises. It’s also home to three regional sports networks, each wanting to charge every single subscriber in the market. Note also that when it comes to DIRECTV or DISH, the Los Angeles sports area covers everything from central California to the San Diego County line, and east all the way to Las Vegas. That’s about 20 million people, and that’s a lot of money to pay for one team when there are a lot of other teams to root for.
Still, the Southlanders who bleed blue have a right to see Dodgers baseball, I’ve said that all along, based if nothing else on the idea that the city pays for police protection, maintenance of the roads and public transport, and gives the Dodgers a tax break on top of it. Hopefully this is the start of something big.