Local baseball fans in Los Angeles and New York may just strike out when it comes to watching their Dodgers and Yankees play on Opening Day and beyond. That is because of the same type of disagreement that happens annually between cable programmers and cable operators. In Los Angeles, the Dodger Regional Sports Network, SportsNet LA, is in contract dispute with DirecTv, AT&T, and Cox Communications. As of now, these operators will not be telecasting Dodger games from SportsNet LA. In New York, the Yankee Regional SportsNet, YES, is in contract dispute with Comcast Cable. That means that about 1 million homes in the NY area will not be able to watch YES.
And while these regional sports networks charge a very hefty monthly license fee for carriage, their drop from the lineup did not lessen the monthly fees that cable subscribers pay to receive their all their cable channels. According to the NY Post, the Comcast deal has been derailed mostly because of most favored nation issues, where Comcast would receive the best price given its share of the market. With the merger of AT&T and DirecTv, Comcast is no longer the largest cable operator.
Will consumers switch to other cable providers to watch their baseball games or will they wait it out and go without? For the hardcore, the MLB app might help, but local games would still be blacked out. Yes, the cost of sports programming is too high and ultimately the fan is forced to pay. It is a no win situation.