This is NOT an April Fools Joke.
After six long years with most of Southern California unable to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers on television, Spectrum Networks announced on Wendesday that they have reached a deal with AT&T to carry SportsNet LA starting today.
The deal, which was announced by the team early Wednesday morning, means that the Los Angeles Dodgers 24-hour channel SportsNetLA will now be carried by AT&T, U-Verse, DirectTV, DirectTV Now, and AT&T TV NOW customers across Southern California, Las Vegas, and Hawaii.
That's a great thing for Dodger fans in those parts of the country, as now live games and behind-the-scenes features will be available inside millions of more homes than it has been for the past six seasons.
In addition to live broadcasts of games throughout the season, SportsNet LA's programming includes original shows and studio programming.
“This agreement underscores our commitment to provide all Dodgers fans the opportunity to enjoy our award-winning programming and live game coverage,” said Dan Finnerty, Senior Vice President, Spectrum Networks in a statement released by the Dodgers. “Working together with AT&T, we were able to reach an agreement to offer the region’s most popular teams to local fans across AT&T’s video platforms.”
The carriage agreement has been discussed many times before, but a deal was unable to be reached in previous talks. Originally, Time Warner held the broadcast rights to SportsNet LA, but they were purchased by Charter Communications in 2015. In 2016, after the deal was completed, Time Warner Cable was re-branded under the Charter owned, Spectrum brand.
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Coincidentally, DirectTV was purchased by AT&T in 2014, and with the recent launch of their new AT&T TV, the communications giant is excited to bring more live sports content to their viewers than ever before. In addition to the Dodgers and SportsNet LA, AT&T will also have a carriage agreement with Spectrum SportsNet airing live Lakers, Galaxy and Sparks games as well.
Once the MLB and NBA seasons resume play, customers in those previously mentioned markets will be able to view the full slate of games across AT&T's video platforms.
If you currently have DirectTV, SportsNet LA is now available on channel 690 for all customers within the Southern California, Las Vegas, and Hawaii regions. U-verse television customers can find the channel in standard definition on 780 and in HD on channel 1780.
The agreement also will likely have an impact on bars and restaurants that carry DirectTV or AT&T. Previously, Dodgers games weren't even available on the televisions of most bars and restaurants across Los Angeles, but now they will be available in public places for those that have cut the cord on cable but still want to find a place to watch the games.
“Our city has the best sports fans in the world, and they want to enjoy all of the excitement and tradition that Dodger games bring to Los Angeles.," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in the statement. "I’m very pleased that Spectrum Sports and AT&T have reached this agreement, which will bring Dodger games into the homes of AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-verse TV and AT&T TV NOW customers when the season begins and give more Angelenos the chance to cheer for our favorite team all the way to the World Series."
The COVID-19 pandemic has currently stopped all major sports in the United States, and closed all non-essential businesses in California. Once the sports world resumes, the impact of this deal will be felt more dramatically, but in the meantime, fans of both the Dodgers and Lakers can continue to stay connected with their teams during the mandatory "stay at home" orders. Historic games will even be aired on both channels.
“As anxious as we all are for the ongoing pandemic to end and for the 2020 season to begin, we now have even more reason to be excited because this agreement will make Dodger baseball games and programming available for our fans on Spectrum, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW,” stated Stan Kasten, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I want to thank AT&T and Spectrum Networks for coming together on this agreement. We are eager to get this season started once it is deemed safe to do so everywhere.”