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Dodgers president optimistic channel will strike deals as opening day approaches

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There’s less than a week until the Dodgers open their regular season in Australia, but Time Warner still hasn’t been able to strike deals with major pay-TV providers for the new Dodgers channel.

Most of the 4.8 million pay-TV customers in the LA market subscribe to Time Warner. They will get Dodger games.

But according SNL Kagan figures provided to the Wall Street Journal, about 68 percent of LA customers subscribe to another provider. And as of now, they are mostly out of luck. (The only deal Time Warner has reached is with tiny Bright House, which usually has Time Warner negotiate its deals)

DirecTV and other distributors have said the Dodgers and Time Warner are asking for far too much money. Still, Dodgers President Stan Kasten told KPCC he expects the channel to get picked up as the season nears.

“We remain optimistic that in short order we’re going to have full coverage throughout the market because it’s something this incredibly deep and loyal fan base wants to have,” Kasten said Friday.

Kasten said he’s not surprised it’s coming down to the wire, because that’s how it went with the Lakers channel, and what’s happened in other cities.

“Negotiations will get more serious as we get closer to opening day, and perhaps beyond, if we’re not completely done by opening day,” Kasten said.

As the season approaches distributors start to really feel the heat from their customers, something the Dodgers and Time Warner are counting on.

The Dodgers games next weekend in Australia will be locally blacked out on the MLB Network and broadcast exclusively in Southern California and Hawaii on SportsNet LA.  The first game only on the Dodgers channel is April 1st, against the Padres.

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