LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two of the largest cable companies in Southern California may merge into one, which may mean big news for Dodger fans who have been locked out of watching games on television.
Charter Communications may announce that it is buying Time Warner Cable, whose ongoing standoff with other cable providers has resulted in a second consecutive season of blacked-out Dodger games for the majority of fans in Los Angeles.
Currently, about 70% of the Southern California market does not have access to watch Time Warner Cable’s Sportsnet channel, also known as the Dodger Channel.
“I can’t watch a nice game at home, which I used to do regularly,” fan Carl Davis said.
If rumors become reality, however, Charter may announce a 3-way proposal to buy Time Warner Cable on Tuesday for over $55 billion.
USC Marshall School of Business professor Ira Kalb calls the potential merger a reaction to a rise in consumers switching over to online services, such as Netflix.
“They’re cutting the code,” Kalb said. “That’s why these guys are merging, they’re scared to death. They’re losing customers like crazy.”
A deal in April between Comcast and Time Warner fell through in April due to push-backs from Federal Regulator, resulting in a crushing blow to Dodger fans who hoped a deal might result in the ability to finally watch their team on television again.
“With the Comcast – Time Warner merger, it didn’t go through because they wouldhave had fifty-seven percent of the country,” Kalb explained. “So the fact that it’s twenty-four percent gives them the ability to more likely have this pass.”
A poll performed earlier in the year found that consumers ranked Comcast, Charter and Time Warner at the bottom of America’s 20 Least Loved Corporations.
Current Time Warner customers, meanwhile, are concerned over the potential effects of a merger.
“Prices. The increase,” Elizabeth Perez said. “Your main concern is always ‘oh, is it going to be affordable for the consumers’.”
For Dodger fans, meanwhile, light reappears at the end of a dark tunnel that has gone on and on, hinting that relief may be ahead.