The 2013 Major League Baseball season has just begun and fans everywhere are tuning in to see their favorite teams take the field on a quest to win the World Series. But believe it or not, a professional baseball team that inhabits “Americas Finest City” is not seen on television by nearly 185,000 households.
The San Diego Padres signed a $1.2 billion, 20 year deal that would make Fox Sports San Diego the new TV home of the Padres and the deal took place in the 2012 season. There was a problem though. Fox Sports charged all the local cable companies an extra fee to carry the new channel. Only two of the five major cable and satellite companies in San Diego agreed to this added fee.
Cox Cable and DirecTV were the only two to jump on board with this new agreement while Time Warner Cable, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse refused and thus were left in the dark. The season began with 42 percent of the county not able to watch Padres games.
42 percent of San Diego County makes out to be around 1.2 million people that were not able to watch a team play in a ball park that was publicly funded. How is that fair.
Fox Sports San Diego’s channel does not only carry Padres games, but it will also carry Los Angeles Clippers and Anaheim Ducks games along with a full lineup of other various programming that also includes local college sports. This increase in programming has led to an increase in price.
Going from the Padres previous TV contract with Ch. 4 San Diego that only carried Padres games, a price increase was inevitable.
This was likely the stipulation that caused the negotiation breakdown between Fox Sports and the various cable and satellite companies.
With a season of no Padres for much of the county, the second season of the 20 year deal has arrived only now with one major cable company holdout. Time Warner Cable is now the sole provider to not have a deal with Fox Sports San Diego as AT&T U-Verse and Dish Network finally agreed to broadcast the channel in time for opening day of the 2013 baseball season.
Time Warner, who operates in the territories north of the San Diego River, currently serves 185,000 people which is a large chunk of the population of San Diego County. Their argument is that Fox Sports San Diego is charging a 400 percent increase over what Ch. 4 charged and not everyone in San Diego watches the Padres and would want to pay extra for a channel they don’t want. Time Warner is protecting its customers.
But for those who do enjoy watching the Padres, it has been a difficult time while playing the blame game with the two companies still at odds. It has become such a dilemma that even the local government has attempted to get involved.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has joined with local council members to try and mediate the negotiations so that the Padres hiatus will come to an end. The two companies both insist it is a private matter and although there have been meetings with the local government; little has come out of it.
A professional team in any sport should be broadcasted through all cable and satellite companies in the city’s area so that all citizens can watch the team they root for. The fact that the Padres are not seen by a large portion of the county is discerning and downright unacceptable.
Fox Sports and Time Warner need to come up with an agreement that benefits the consumers and puts the Padres back on TV for all who wish to watch. For those still in the dark, stay positive, cheer on the team and keep the friar faith.