The fight to defeat the Coronavirus has brought together some intractable foes, but none more divided than DIRECTV and SportsNet LA, the TV home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Today, the two sides finally signed a carriage agreement, some six years after the channel first launched.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported this afternoon that SportsNet LA can now be seen on DIRECTV’s channel 690.
“A bit of good news… and this is not an April Fools Day joke. A deal has been reached for Direct TV to carry the Dodgers station, SportsNet LA. It’s already broadcasting on Channel 690 this morning,” she wrote on Twitter.
SportsNet LA confirmed the report in a later tweet.
“OFFICIAL: We’re very happy to announce a carriage agreement with AT&T. Starting now, our award-winning programming will be available to AT&T video subscribers in Southern California, Las Vegas, and Hawaii,” the channel said.
The channel did not elaborate, but SportsNet LA will later be added to AT&T TV as well as U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
Until now, Charter Spectrum, which has the management rights to the channel, was the only major TV provider in the LA market to carry the channel. DIRECTV, Dish and other TV distributors said SportsNet LA was asking for excessive fees.
And considering that SportsNet LA is required to pay the Dodgers more than $300 million a year to carry their games, it wouldn’t be a surprise that the channel was demanding a high rate to offset the expense. (Time Warner Cable, which negotiated the deal, agreed to pay $8.35 billion over 25 years, starting with the 2014 season. Charter inherited the contract when it purchased TWC.)
It’s unclear why DIRECTV and SportsNet LA finally came to terms now, but the possibility that the 2020 season will either be shortened or eliminated due to the Coronavirus likely was a factor.
The TV Answer Man will update this story here if and when more information is disclosed.
— Phillip Swann