Washington, D.C. (November 2, 2016) - Los Angeles Dodgers fans, your long television nightmare is about to end. (See analysis below.) The Justice Department today filed suit against AT&T, claiming that DIRECTV (now owned by AT&T) has engaged in an illegal campaign to prevent SportsNet LA from being carried by the major TV providers in the Los Angeles market. (SportsNet LA is the exclusive TV home of the Dodgers.)
Feds Sue AT&T/DIRECTV Over Dodgers TV Blackout
Since its launch in 2014, DIRECTV and most other major TV providers in the LA area have refused to carry the regional sports channel, saying its carriage fee is excessive. The only major providers that have agreed to carry it are Time Warner Cable (now Charter) and Charter itself. (TWC, which is now owned by Charter, agreed to pay the Dodgers $8.35 billion over 25 years for the broadcast rights to the Dodgers games.) The Los Angeles Times reports that the Justice Department lawsuit charges that DIRECTV has served as a 'ringleader' to persuade other providers not to carry the channel as well. (The suit names the other providers as Cox, Charter and AT&T, which assumed control of DIRECTV last year in a merger.) The satcaster, the suit says, shared confidential information with its rivals to help persuade them from carrying it. "Dodgers fans were denied a fair competitive process when DIRECTV orchestrated a series of information exchanges with direct competitors that ultimately made consumers less likely to be able to watch their hometown team," the Justice Department said today in a statement. AT&T responded today that DIRECTV has not carried SportsNet LA only because of high carriage fees and it looks forward to fighting the suit in court. AT&T has just agreed to buy Time Warner for more than $85 billion, a deal that will require Justice Department approval. There is no way that AT&T will allow the Justice Department attorneys to begin merger consideration with this lawsuit pending. Look for AT&T to settle this case sooner than later with both AT&T and DIRECTV agreeing to carry SportsNet LA for the 2017 baseball season. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, or someone in the Obama administration, must be a Dodgers fan. Or, someone is doing a favor for someone who's a Dodgers fan. 
Phillip Swann/TVPredictions.com

Comments are closed.