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Dodgers Television Woes Continue In Los Angeles

Jason Barrett

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The Los Angeles Dodgers’ television network (SportsNet LA) has made another decision which has local fans unhappy. The team announced it was cutting back spring training broadcasts from 31 to 16.

It sounds like a joke, but it’s real. A network that exists solely to telecast Dodgers games will not be telecasting some Dodgers games. A network accessible to only 40% of Southern California homes has decided, what the heck, let’s shut out everyone.

Luckily for local baseball fans, there is always FS West, which will broadcast 31 Angels spring games, including being the sole television provider for the first two Dodgers-Angels Cactus League games March 9 and 11.

This is not about the importance of watching spring exhibitions, which become awfully boring when all the good players hit the golf courses by the fifth inning. SportsNet LA is not alone in taking a spring break, as most teams televise only a smattering of games — and even KLAC radio is broadcasting only 14 games from Arizona. And yes, it makes sense when Time Warner Cable officials say they are cutting back because of lousy midweek afternoon ratings.

But when the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable continue to deny 60% of Southern California households a chance to watch their team because of ego and greed, then each misstep becomes more galling than the previous one, and every stumble becomes emblematic of a legendary fall.

At this point in the three-year debacle, it is worth wondering whether this might be the worst team-TV partnership in modern sports history. If the Dodgers keep Vin Scully from Los Angeles during his final season, that seals it.

To continue reading visit the Los Angeles Times where it was originally published

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Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round NHL Games on ESPN Up 65%

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable.

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The Stanley Cup playoffs got underway this weekend in the NHL and ESPN is off to a hot start in terms of audience. Sunday’s first round games on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 1.04 million total viewers, up 65% over 2023’s Game 1 average.

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.3 million viewers. The game peaked at 1.5 million viewers.

The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets played their first game on ESPN with the Jets taking a wild 7-6 win over the Avalanche. That game is now ESPN2’s most-viewed first round NHL playoff game ever and the third most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL Playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.1 total viewers and peaking at 1.4 million viewers.

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Report: ESPN, TNT Have NBA Matching Rights

“Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

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As the NBA’s exclusive negotiating period came to an end last night, new information about the agreement has come to light. Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp is reporting both ESPN and TNT have matching rights for any deal presented to the NBA. The report says this goes for the linear broadcasts as well as streaming.

A source at the NBA told Karp, “Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

Alex Sherman of CNBC had reported last week the exclusive negotiating window, which started on March 9, would most likely expire without a deal in place. Karp’s report says he believes the deal was 75% done prior to the window beginning.

Numerous reports have indicated that the league is looking to add a streaming element into its next deal and is looking for an increase in rights fees. Amazon, Apple, YouTube TV, Comcast (NBCUniversal/Peacock) and Netflix have all expressed potential interest.

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Tegna, Indiana Fever Partner for Local TV Package

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement.”

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Photo Courtesy: ESPN

The Indiana Fever and superstar Caitlin Clark will be seen on television a lot, both nationally and now locally as well. The Fever and Tegna announced a partnership earlier today to air 17 games between local NBC affiliate WTHR and MeTV affiliate WALV.

“So many new fans are tuning in to watch the world’s best basketball players compete in the WNBA, and the Fever have built a roster of incredible young talent that has caught the attention of basketball fans all over the globe,” Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said in a release. “Tegna and WTHR have been amazing local partners for years, and we are excited that more fans than ever before will get the chance to watch these amazing athletes play.”

The release also noted Tegna was working on expanded access outside of Indianapolis.

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement,” Dave Lougee, President and CEO of Tegna, said in a release. “The remarkable journey of Caitlin Clark and her teammates has captured the hearts and minds of millions. We’re thrilled to deliver all the Fever action to every household in the Indianapolis region.”

The national TV package for WNBA games, which is aired on ABC, ESPN, Prime Video, CBS Sports Network, NBA TV and Ion will carry 36 of the Fever’s 40 games. The four games not being carried will be covered by the local package with Tegna. Several games will air on both a national and a local station.

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