Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Congressman Sherman Reissues Call For Binding Arbitration to Resolve Dodgers TV Dispute

  

Apr 1, 2016
Press Release

Sherman Oaks –In a letter to the Chairmen of Time Warner Cable and DIRECTV, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) called on Time Warner Cable, DIRECTV and all other providers to enter into binding arbitration to resolve the current dispute and air Dodgers games on all LA-area cable and satellite systems.

“I am deeply troubled by recent reports in the Los Angeles Times that both parties have ceased efforts to reach a deal. We are entering the third straight season of this television dispute, which has deprived millions of fans the opportunity to watch the hometown team,” said Congressman Sherman.

“I have pushed for binding arbitration on multiple occasions since the 2014 season when this dispute began. They have had two years to reach a compromise on their own, but enough is enough.”

“When you have two or more parties that can’t reach an agreement, at great detriment to the public, binding arbitration may be the only option. This way an objective expert can negotiate a fair compromise.”

“A community ought to able to rally around the home team. You can’t build a community if over half the residents can’t view the Dodgers.”

Read Congressman Sherman’s letter below:

 

April 1, 2016

 

Mr. Michael White
CEO, Chairman, and President, DIRECTV
2230 E Imperial Hwy 
El Segundo, CA 90245

Mr. Robert D. Marcus
CEO and Chairman, Time Warner Cable
60 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10023

 

Dear Mr. White and Mr. Marcus,

I write to express my continued concern about the ongoing dispute over how to provide residents of Los Angeles with access to Los Angeles Dodgers television broadcasts.

Millions of Dodgers fans have been unable to watch the games for two seasons. The Dodgers are about to start a new season. We need to find a solution before opening day so that Angelenos do not miss a third Dodgers season in a row.

I am deeply troubled by recent reports in the Los Angeles Times that both parties have ceased efforts to reach a deal.

I wrote to both of you in 2014 and 2015, calling for Time Warner Cable, DIRECTV and all other TV providers to enter into binding arbitration, so that a neutral third-party could determine the right price and terms for the Dodgers network.

On behalf of Dodgers fans throughout Southern California, I am reissuing that request. Binding arbitration is a fair and fast way to return programming to consumers. Two years of failed negotiations proves that mediation is not working.

Binding arbitration would take place as follows.

  1. Any satellite, cable or telco provider within the Dodgers home television territory that agrees to binding arbitration shall immediately launch SportsNet LA, commonly known as the Dodgers Network.  Those satellite, cable or telco companies would be able to insert four 30 second commercials each hour (as the current format provides), and would otherwise be carrying the station’s feed. 
  2. SportsNet LA would be available to all cable, satellite and telco subscribers throughout the Dodgers home television territory.
  3. All parties would enter into binding arbitration pursuant to the rules of the American Arbitration Association, which pursuant to its practices, would assist in the appointment of three qualified neutral arbitrators.
  4. The arbitrators would determine the amount to be paid (carriage fee) by the cable, satellite and telco companies.
  5. The arbitrators would take into consideration all relevant data regarding regional sports networks, not only in Los Angeles but across the country.  The parties would cooperate in providing relevant information, and the arbitrators would keep proprietary information confidential.
  6. The arbitrators would decide whether the terms should apply for one season, or three to six seasons.

Time Warner Cable has repeatedly agreed to submit to binding arbitration. The Dodgers have spoken in support of binding arbitration as well.

In 2015, DIRECTV released a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying it was open to compromise. “We continue to hope TWC and the Dodger front office will compromise with the rest of Southern California's providers so all Dodger fans can watch their games without burdening everyone else with significantly higher fees.”

I am hopeful that all parties will submit to binding arbitration before the Dodgers start a third season, so that every Angeleno has access to the broadcasts.

I look forward to assisting in any way I can to help resolve this impasse and return Dodgers programming to my constituents and the rest of Los Angeles. Thank you for your attention and consideration of this important request. 

Sincerely,

Brad Sherman

Member of Congress

Cc: AT&T U-verse

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