TV Answer Man, I am a huge Dodgers fan and I am very excited about the team coming home this weekend for their first series at home. I want to watch the games at home, too, so is there anyway to do this without having to subscribe to Spectrum, which I have a personal problem with. — Marcy, Santa Monica, California.
Marcy, you’re right. The Los Angeles Dodgers will play their home opener tomorrow at 4:10 p.m. ET against the Washington Nationals and Charter’s Spectrum TV will carry the game on SportsNet LA. The cable TV operator has held the management rights to the Dodgers regional broadcasts since it inherited them in the Time Warner Cable deal in 2016. (TWC paid the Dodgers $8.35 billion over 25 years for the management rights to the team’s games; Charter assumed the contract when it merged with TWC.)
For several years after the TWC-Dodgers agreement, Charter (or TWC) was the only major pay TV provider in the Los Angeles market to air the Dodgers games. Other cable and satellite services said Charter demanded too much money to carry the channel.
However, that changed last year when AT&T negotiated a carriage agreement with Charter, permitting its AT&T TV streaming services, and DIRECTV, to offer SportsNet LA. For the first time, LA area fans didn’t need to subscribe to Spectrum TV to watch their home town team.
SportsNet LA is still available on AT&T TV and DIRECTV, but note that you will need a Choice plan or above to get the channel in your programming plan. AT&T TV’s Choice package is $84.99 a month (with no contract) while DIRECTV’s Choice plan for new subscribers starts at $69.99 a month (with a two-year agreement.).
It’s also worth noting that AT&T TV does not charge a regional sports channel fee.
When AT&T and Charter broke the logjam last year, the hope was that other providers, such as YouTube TV or Hulu Live, would soon come on board as well. But thus far, AT&T TV and DIRECTV remain the only pay TV alternatives to Spectrum TV if you want to watch the Dodgers in the LA market.
Marcy, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann