Rat­ings soar for Char­ter’s first Dodgers game

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Meg James meg.james@la­times.com

Tele­vi­sion view­er­ship soared for Tues­day’s Los An­ge­les Dodgers base­ball game in the in­au­gu­ral tele­cast for the team-owned TV chan­nel on Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions ca­ble sys­tems.

Rat­ings for the game on Sport­sNet LA more than dou­bled com­pared with this sea­son’s av­er­age. Tues­day’s con­test, in which the Dodgers beat the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs 3-1, gen­er­ated a 1.31 house­hold TV rat­ing and an es­ti­mated 103,871 TV view­ers. That is more than dou­ble the av­er­age view­er­ship for Sport­sNet LA this year.

Be­fore Tues­day, Dodgers games had been av­er­ag­ing a 0.63 house­hold rat­ing and an es­ti­mated 45,535 view­ers a game — a smaller au­di­ence than what typ­i­cally turns out for a game at Dodger Sta­dium.

Af­ter hold­ing out for more than 14 months, Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions agreed this month to begin of­fer­ing Sport­sNet LA in its chan­nel lineup.

Char­ter’s change in strat­egy came af­ter it un­veiled its nearly $57-bil­lion deal to ac­quire Time Warner Ca­ble, which un­til now had been the only ma­jor pay-TV op­er­a­tor to carry Sport­sNet LA. Char­ter was mo­ti­vated to begin of­fer­ing the base­ball games as the com­pany seeks to build good­will for its pro­posed takeover, which would make it the largest pay-TV com­pany in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The Stam­ford, Conn., ca­ble provider didn’t want to an­tag­o­nize South­ern Cal­i­for­nia cus­tomers or politi­cians who have ex­pressed frus­tra­tion about the stale­mate over dis­tri­bu­tion of Sport­sNet LA.

Char­ter’s shift rep­re­sented the first break in the log­jam that has pre­vented hun­dreds of thou­sands of homes in the re­gion from hav­ing ac­cess to Dodgers games.

Char­ter serves nearly 300,000 homes in the Los An­ge­les re­gion, in­clud­ing Long Beach, Glen­dale, Bur­bank, parts of Pasadena, Malibu, Whit­tier and River­side. Char­ter cus­tomers were par­tic­u­larly hard hit by the im­passe.

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