In an email message yesterday, Fox Sports San Diego announced, “Despite our best efforts, we do not expect to have an agreement with Time Warner and AT&T by Opening Day.” This means many in the San Diego area will have to resort to radio or sports bars to watch the game. As of now, Fox Sports San Diego is carried on Directv and Cox. Since the new television deal was announced, there have been concerns about which companies would carry the channel initially and which would require lengthy negotiations. In this case, AT&T and Time Warner are locked in those lengthy negotiations.
Chris Belliti of Fox Sports Cable had this to say in an email:
We have offered Time Warner and AT&T very fair rates that are consistent with the terms that Cox and DIRECTV have agreed to. Time Warner has not even responded to our most recent proposal.
Unfortunately for Padres fans who subscribe to Time Warner and AT&T, they should explore alternatives for watching the Padres on Opening Day.
It’s difficult to takes sides in this matter considering both companies have enormous amounts of money, but there is little doubt the fans are the ones who get hurt. I’m not sure exactly how many in the San Diego area have AT&T’s U-Verse or Time Warner cable, but judging by the response on Twitter, I’d say quite a bit.
While fans are quick to blame Fox Sports San Diego, AT&T, or Time Warner – and rightly so – some of the blame needs to fall on Major League Baseball. Bud Selig and MLB still has not formally approved the Padres television deal with Fox. The team and the network waited as long as possible, but have decided to go forward with broadcasting games. This delay in approval left very little time for the network and television carriers to negotiate the rights to the channel.
The inability to watch their local team play is a difficult pill for most San Diegans to swallow. It also hurts the image of the club. Not many other cities with teams have had similar issues in which a large portion of their fans can’t watch the games on TV. It will eventually get worked out, but Opening Day is one of the biggest events in baseball. For those with AT&T and Time Warner, they will not get to experience the coverage of the game from the comforts of their homes.
For now, fans with Cox and Directv will be the only ones with access to the games. Cox customers can find the games on channel 56 and 1056. Those with Directv can find the games on channel 694.