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Local sports fans spoiled

We’re lucky we’re not in the same boat as L.A. Dodgers fans.

First Published Mar 11 2014 11:33 pm • Last Updated Mar 12 2014 09:55 pm

Sports fans here in Utah aren’t that different from sports fans in any other state. We love to watch our teams on TV, and we complain like crazy on rare occasions when we can’t.

To be blunt, we’re sort of spoiled. We have it pretty good. Other than the continuing standoff between the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV, it’s easy — and relatively cheap — to see all our local teams.

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• The Utah Jazz are on basic cable (ROOT).

• The University of Utah is occasionally on broadcast TV (ABC or Fox) and frequently on basic cable (Pac 12 Netowork, Fox Sports 1 and the ESPNs).

• BYU is on basic cable (BYUtv and the ESPNs).

• Real Salt Lake is almost always on local broadcast TV (KTVX-Ch. 4 or KUCW-Ch. 30). National games are on basic cable (NBCSN and the ESPNs).

• Utah State is regularly on basic cable (CBSSN, ROOT).

• Weber State and Southern Utah make occasional appearances on basic cable.

Oh my heck, as a local might say, we have it better than most places. We even have lots of preps on KJZZ-Ch. 14 and KMYU-Ch. 2.2.

Granted, we have to pay for a cable or satellite subscription to see our teams. And I’m not minimizing that expense.


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But we’re not stuck with pay-per-view games, as are Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC fans (occasionally). We’re not stuck paying for high-priced programming tiers to get to our teams (at least not here in Utah). And we’re not simply stuck the way so many Los Angeles Dodgers fans are.

The latest case of a local sports franchise sticking it to its own fans is coming to a head. In hundreds of thousands of homes across Southern California, Dodgers fans have lost access to their team.

Last year, Time Warner Cable agreed to pay the Dodgers more than $8 billion — yes, that billion with a b — for 25 years worth of local TV rights. TWC created a new channel, SportsNet LA, and it is passing the cost along to their subscribers.

They’re also trying to pass that cost along to other cable and satellite providers, demanding more than $4 per month per home for SportsNet LA.

That’s ESPN-like money. And, like ESPN, even if you’re not a sports fan you’ll have to pay about $50 bucks a year for it.

TWC won’t allow other cable systems to sell SportsNet LA to individual households. It’s all or nothing.

(That sounds like P12N vs. DirecTV.)

Cable systems, DirecTV and Dish are balking at Time Warner Cable’s demands. Which isn’t surprising.

Dodgers fans are yelling at their cable/satellite TV providers. Which isn’t surprising.

The Dodgers are pretending they’re not responsible for all this. Which isn’t surprising, but is ridiculous.

Last season, 50 of the Dodgers regular-season games were available on free, over-the-air TV; the rest on local cable. This year, fans are being told to harass their cable/satellite providers into paying TWC’s ransom demands.

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