Monday, 4 April 2016

Dodgers’ opener blacked out on ESPN, adds to social media backlash

ESPN apologized Monday for a misunderstanding about its plans to black out or show alternative programming instead of the Dodgers’ season opener at San Diego.

Only those L.A. customers of Time Warner Cable and Charter Cable with access to SportsNet LA could see the 4 p.m. game Monday with the call of Vin Scully, who is starting what he believes will be his final season.

Many who do not have TWC or Charter and planned to watch the game on ESPN took to social media to vent frustration. The public outcry adds to the long-running dismay that TWC, the distributors of SNLA, has failed to get the channel on services like DirecTV, AT&T, Cox, Comcast or Verizon FiOS.

SNLA starts the third season of carrying live Dodgers games with less than 60 percent of the city able to access the channel.

ESPN, however, had been promoting for weeks that it would carry this game as part of its Monday Opening Day schedule, with the top broadcast team of Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza.

The game was shown live to the San Diego TV market.

Those with TWC and Charter also were not able to see the Dodgers-Padres on their ESPN feed.

Lon Rosen, the Dodgers Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said Monday that ESPN has the option to lift a blackout in a local market once a season but decided not to for this game. He said the team did know about the blackout being in effect for this opener.

The Dodgers official website, which is programmed by MLB, showed that both SNLA and ESPN would be televising the game, which also led to confusion.

Meanwhile, the Angels’ home opener against the Chicago Cubs from Angel Stadium on Monday night was to air live on ESPN2, in competition with Fox Sports West. The network, however, decided to black it out in Chicago on ESPN2.


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