TV Answer Man, I love our Dodgers but I am not a cable subscriber. Is there anyway to watch the Dodgers games here in our area without subscribing to Spectrum TV? I want to watch them on streaming because it will save money. — Jen, Santa Monica, California.
Jen, Charter’s Spectrum TV, the largest cable TV operator in the Los Angeles market, 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 Spectrum (or TWC) was the only major pay TV provider in the Los Angeles market to air the Dodgers games on SportsNet LA,, the team’s TV home. Other cable and satellite services said Charter demanded too much money to carry the channel.
However, that changed in 2020 when AT&T (then DIRECTV’s sole owner) negotiated a carriage agreement with Charter, permitting its AT&T TV streaming service (now known as DIRECTV Stream), and DIRECTV’s satellite service, 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 DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream. In fact, DIRECTV Stream is the only multi-channel, live streaming service that carries it. Hulu Live, Sling TV, YouTube TV and FuboTV all do not carry SportsNet LA and its Dodgers broadcasts.
If you’re considering subscribing to DIRECTV Stream to watch the Dodgers, take note that you will need a Choice plan or above to get the channel in your programming plan. DIRECTV Stream’s Choice package costs $89.99 a month, but the streamer today is running a special $10 off the first three months promotion which would bring the price down to $79.99 until July. (But also take note that the promotion ends today.)
There is one other way to watch the Dodgers games via streaming in the LA market. You could install a VPN on your streaming device and/or router which disguises your location. That would allow you to subscribe to MLB TV for $129.99 (pre-season price) and watch the Dodgers games in your market without blackouts. If that sounds ethically or legally sketchy, read our article on Major League Baseball’s latest position on VPNs and MLB.TV.
Jen, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann