Charter now promises to pick up Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A., but vague on timetable after TWC takeover announcement

BeryDjGCMAAC2wC1No timetable has been set for the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel being made available to some 300,000 Charter Communication cable subscribers in Southern California as promised after Tuesday’s announcement of Charter’s intent to take over Time Warner Cable in a $55.3 billion national deal.

TWC spokesman Andrew Fegyversei said: “Charter is committed to carrying SportsNet LA as soon as possible. We’re excited for Charter customers to enjoy the network’s games and in-depth programming.”

Charter spokesman Justin Venech added that the company “expects to launch the Dodgers network to its customers in L.A. in the coming weeks.”

Most of Charter’s customers in Southern California live in the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, and Burbank, with some in Long Beach and Malibu areas. That is only about 15 percent of the two million TWC cable customers already in this region that receives Dodgers broadcasts.

Tom Rutledge, the Charter Communications chief executive who will be in charge of the new organization if it passes government approval, was vague in telling the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning that “we are going to get the Dodgers on … we want the Dodgers on every outlet and we are committed to making that happen.”

Up to this point, Charter has stood with a group that included DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse that has defiantly resisted the reported $5-per-subscriber monthly fee involved in carrying the Dodgers-owned channel, which is being distributed by Time Warner Cable Sports.

DirecTV remains the lynchpin in the process of whether the channel eventually receives acceptance to competing dish and cable systems other than Time Warner Cable, which  has agreed to carry SportsNet L.A. since its launch in February, 2014.

Time Warner Cable was recently thwarted in an attempt to merge with Comcast Communications. The Charter merger with TWC is not expected to be completed until the end of this year, according to reports.

DirectTV remains in negotiations with a merger plan involving AT&T that, if completed, would likely lead to that company reopening talks with TWC on the SportsNet L.A. carriage, but will not guarantee its advancement. The government is expected to approve that DirecTV-AT&T merger in the coming months.

The Dodgers have made only one national TV appearance this year — ESPN carried the April 15 Jackie Robinson Day game when they hosted Seattle. The Dodgers-Atlanta contest is on both SportsNet L.A. and ESPN tonight at 7 p.m. The Dodgers’ game in St. Louis on Saturday will be on Fox-Channel 11 at 4:15 p.m.

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