Mixer: Dodger Blues

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friday mixer bannerFirst pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine is Saturday evening at 6:10 PST, when they’ll play the Angels in a Spring Training ‘freeway’ matchup.

They’ll start the season on Monday for the official home opener against the Padres.

And they’ll be looking to advance further into the playoffs than they did last year, when they came up short.

But most fans who want to see the game on TV will again be out of luck because of continuing drama beyond the stadium.

Two years ago, Time Warner Cable signed an $8 billion deal with the Dodgers for exclusive rights to televise its baseball games on a new channel: SportsNet LA.

Up to now, however, it hasn’t been successful in negotiating deals from other cable and satellite providers to carry that network. The company reportedly wants $4-$5 per subscriber to pick up SportsNet.

Mark Van Gessel, who co-owns Hinano Café in Venice, subscribes to DIRECTV and this year won’t be able to show the games to his customers.

“I do think it affects my business,” Van Gessel said. “I do have customers that come in and want to watch the game, and when we tell them that it’s not around or on TV, a few do leave, others do stay.”

David Carter heads up the Sports Business Institute at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

He says these multi-billion dollar deals leave fans in the lurch. Fans who want to see sporting events live – and together with other fans.

“The live content is a huge piece of it. And there’s a tremendous amount of camaraderie around these games,” said Carter. “Being able to watch a Monday Night Football game together, or being able to watch a baseball playoff game with friends over summer barbecue. Those things are relatively irreplaceable, when you consider more standard programming that you can TiVO and just worry about watching later and timeshift as you see fit.”

Meanwhile, the fans are left looking for other ways to enjoy their favorite team.

Bill Shaikin writes and reports about the Dodgers for the LA Times, and he joined us on the Mixer to talk about it.