Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt may have been driven out of baseball but his dream lives on.
McCourt had always wanted to take a page from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s playbook and start the Dodgers own network. In 1999, Steinbrenner created the YES network and made it the exclusive home of local Yankee broadcasts.
McCourt’s dream may have become reality without him. Tuesday, the Dodgers announced they are awarding their valuable television rights to Time Warner cable. Beginning with the 2014 season, the Dodgers will most likely have a network solely devoted to themselves. The deal reportedly may add as much as $8 billion dollars to the Dodgers bank account over the next couple of decades. The Dodgers are expected to release an official statement before the end of the week.
This may be bad news for many Dodgers fans, if the deal follows the same path as the deal Time Warner secured to locally broadcast Lakers games.
For years, the Dodgers and Lakers were part of the FOX Sports cable empire. Customers with the most basic cable package could view local broadcasts. The independent “free-over-the-air” station, KCAL, also televised about 50 Dodgers games a year and most Lakers away games. The bottom line is both teams could be viewed without fans having to pay a premium. That all changed this season as the Lakers deal with Time Warner kicked in.
Time Warner created the Lakers network(the MLS Galaxy is also part of the package) which meant the local broadcasts would be available to Time Warner cable customers only. This left satellite and other cable company customers without Lakers games; they could only view the games broadcast on ABC, TNT, or ESPN. Fans and sports bars, most who had Direct TV for NFL games, cried “foul” since the deal left them out in the cold. Eventually Time Warner sucked the other providers dry and games can now be seen on satellite and other cable company packages. Still out in the cold are those viewers stuck with the dying technology known as standard TV.
So far, no one is sure what the new deal will mean for fans without Time Warner. The Dodgers deal differs from the Lakers deal in that the team may call the shots as to what games will be televised. Time Warner’s deal with the Lakers gives the cable conglomerate all the say in what will be televised. The hope is the Dodgers will continue to make some local telecasts available to everyone. No matter, non-baseball fans will ultimately see their cable bills go up as a result. And some are pretty pissed off about it.
“Why do I have to pay for the Dodgers when I am not a Dodgers fan?” said Laura Burnes, a mother of two. “I don’t want to see my cable costs go up any more.”
Given Los Angeles viewers now have to pay more to view UCLA and USC sports, Lakers games, and soon Dodgers games, the old TV adage known as “check your local listings” may be replaced by “check your local bank account.” Click here to read more.
Dodgers make things right with their immortal lefty.
The Dodgers announced that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. Koufax will serve as Special Advisor to Dodgers’ Chairman Mark Walter and attend a portion of Spring Training to work with Dodgers’ pitchers and consult with the team throughout the year.
Koufax’s relationship with the Dodgers has run hot and cold over the years. Just having Koufax around after he retired was fun for both fans and players. His presence at spring training sometimes received more press than the players themselves.
But he distanced himself from the organization during the period FOX owned the Dodgers(1998-2004). The story was he was upset with FOX’s publishing arm that sometimes printed “gossip” about his private life. Things began to change under McCourt’s ownership.
In 2010, manager Joe Torre set up a “Q&A session with Sandy Koufax” charity event. More than 5,000 people showed up and the event was televised locally. That night seemed to signal a “thawing” of the freeze between Koufax and the Dodgers.
“The Dodgers are thrilled to have Sandy back with the organization,” Dodgers’ President and CEO Stan Kasten said. “Sandy’s experience and perspective will be invaluable as we endeavor to do everything in our power to bring the city of Los Angeles a World Series champion.”
Justin facing justice?
Dodgers utility infielder Justin Sellers got into trouble with authorities in Sacramento, California this past weekend for a somewhat odd reason.
Last Saturday, police responded to reports that a man on a motorcycle was pulling wheelies in a residential neighborhood. The man led police on a brief chase. The perpetrator turned out to be Sellers. He was arrested for reckless driving and evading police.
Ironically, Sellers, who has played second, third, and shortstop for the Dodgers in 55 games the past two seasons, went on the DL in August due to a back injury. He was supposed to be rehabbing from surgery.
Sellers is not necessarily in the Dodgers long range plans, especially given the signing of utility infielder Skip Schumaker, but their lack of infield depth may give him a slight chance at making the team this spring.
Click here to read more about his antics.
Finally, a fan-fest fans can appreciate
On January 26th, the Dodgers will hold their “Fan Fest”“ at Dodger Stadium. This year’s version may actually be more of a celebration in the sense it is the first major fan-focused event run by the new ownership group. Under Frank McCourt, it was getting easier and easier to obtain tickets. This weekend, expect tickets, which include games against the Yankees and Red Sox, to be scarce.