DTLA - On Monday, April 11, city leaders showed up outside Dodger Stadium to celebrate the dedication of Vin Scully Avenue. The former Elysian Park Avenue has been renamed in honor of the Hall of Fame broadcaster, who is entering his 67th and final season calling Dodger games.

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The team’s home opener took place the following day, but as has been the case for the past two seasons, more than half of the households in Los Angeles were unable to see it. That’s because we are in the unprecedented third year of a dispute between Time Warner Cable and other TV and communications companies over the rights and fees charged to show games.

Dodgers Owners Have Failed the Fans

(l to r) Bobby Patton, Stan Kasten, Walter, Johnson, Peter Guber and Todd Boehly.

The situation arose after Guggenheim Baseball Management acquired the Dodgers from Frank McCourt in 2012 and orchestrated an $8.25 billion TV rights deal with Time Warner Cable. The company promptly created its own Dodgers network, SportsNet LA, which is similar to team-powered networks across the country. Other TV providers such as DirecTV, however, have been unwilling to pay the fees that Time Warner has been asking for to carry the channel, because they are loathe to then charge customers approximately $5 a month to cover the cost of the contract (cable and satellite TV subscribers would have to pay whether or not they want SportsNet LA). Recent efforts to lower the price, reportedly to the $3-$4 per-customer range, have gone nowhere.

The net result is that most fans don’t get SportsNet LA in their pay-TV package and thus can’t watch the team. The Doomsday scenario is that the fight continues through the rest of the season and that fans miss the final run for the legendary Scully. Perhaps Charter Communications’ pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable will change the status quo, but the extended stalemate proves you should never expect logic to prevail.

The Dodgers would like you to believe that fault to date lies with the mammoth communications companies. This page, however, lays the blame on the shoulders of the Dodgers owners.

The problem is, simply, greed. The Guggenheim Baseball Management gang was probably ebullient when they inked the 25-year TV rights deal, as it would allow them to recoup some of the $2.15 billion they spent buying the team and cover a payroll north of $200 million. However, they should have foreseen that the cost of the exorbitant TV contract would be passed on to fans. The owners can watch a game whenever they want from the best seats in the house. As attending games becomes ever more expensive, some fans can only afford the televised experience.

The owners likely never expected the fight to last this long — a similar dispute with a Lakers TV network was resolved fairly quickly. That said, the brass has demonstrated little public appetite to rectify the situation. When the seriousness of the problem became apparent, they should have done everything possible to resolve it, even if it meant blowing up the TV rights contract and taking a hefty financial penalty. Given the current situation, it is clear that the owners — Mark Walter, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly — have failed the fans.

This page previously suggested that the owners arrange to get games on free TV to make up for the mistakes to date. Yet every day without a deal only compounds the problem.

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2016