September 16, 2014




(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) issued a statement this morning, following the decision, by Time Warner Cable (TWC) and the Los Angeles Dodgers, to air the final six games of the Dodgers season on KDOC in Los Angeles.

“In the short term, this is great for Dodgers fans, because the team is in the midst of a tough playoff race,” said Cárdenas. “However, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that Dodgers fans see every game next year.  Once a deal is struck, Time Warner should also consider auctioning off a handful of games to free broadcast television so that Angelenos without cable can watch a few games a year since not all fans can afford cable.”

Most large-market baseball teams have a contract that allows for over-the-air broadcast. The Dodgers are an outlier, with no games available on free broadcast television.  An estimated 12% of viewers in Los Angeles are dependent on over-the-air broadcast.

“I continue to have concerns with the vertical integration issues raised by the Dodgers dispute,” continued Cárdenas. “When a cable carrier also owns a cable channel, there is potential for favoritism at the expense of others or unfair use of ownership to make its channel inaccessible to other carriers. I will continue to monitor this challenge in cable and TV issues that come before Congress.”

On July 27th, Cárdenas led several other area Representatives in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, calling on the FCC to mediate the dispute between TWC and local cable companies. On July 29th, Chairman Wheeler called Cárdenas to discuss the issue and confirmed that the FCC was requesting documents from TWC, regarding the issue. Recently, media reports indicated that TWC had complied and was sending the requested documents to the Commission.

“I’m pleased that now all Dodger fans will be able to join the excitement of watching the final regular season games in advance of the playoff race,” said Wheeler, in a statement released Monday afternoon. “The leadership of Representative Cárdenas and Mayor Garcetti kept this issue in the forefront and the FCC will continue to go to bat for consumers in resolving programming disputes. We hope that long-term agreements will be the next step and can be achieved quickly without depriving fans of any regular season games next year.”

Prior to the arrangement, nearly 70 percent of households in the Los Angeles metro area were unable to watch Dodgers games, due to a disagreement over carriage fees between TWC and other cable companies. TWC’s SportsNet LA local sports channel has exclusive rights to Dodgers games under an $8.35 billion deal reached with the Dodgers last year. Because of the high cost of the contract, TWC has sought higher per-user fees from local cable companies, which has contributed to the ongoing stalemate.

Cárdenas will meet with Wheeler tomorrow at the Capitol, to further discuss this issue and other telecommunications issues facing Los Angeles and the nation.