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August 4, 2014
Chairman Tom Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 121h Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
Mr. Michael White
CEO, Chairman, and President, DirecTV
2230 E Imperial Hwy
El Segundo, CA 90245
Mr. Robert D. Marcus
CEO and Chairman, Time Warner Cable
60 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10023
Dear Chairman Wheeler, Mr. White, and Mr. Marcus:
On July 28, I wrote a letter urging binding arbitration of the Dodgers telecasting dispute.
The letter was addressed to Robert Marcus of Time Warner Cable and Michael White of
DirecTV. The letter was also signed by five of my Los Angeles area colleagues, and
copies were sent to the satellite and cable television providers that are following
On July 29, FCC Chairman Wheeler thanked me for bringing this matter to his attention,
began an investigation, and requested the details of the proposed arbitration process. On
July 31, DirecTV CEO Michael White, speaking in his quarterly earnings conference
call, indicated a desire for additional details of how arbitration would proceed.
Accordingly, I provide below a clarification of my proposal.
This technical clarification letter is not signed by my five colleagues, but I believe that it
is not inconsistent with their views. Binding arbitration would take place as follows:
1. Any satellite, cable or telco provider within the Dodgers home television
territory that agrees to binding arbitration shall immediately launch SportsNet
LA, commonly known as the Dodgers Network. Those satellite, cable, or telco
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companies would be able to insert four 30 second commercials each hour (as
the current format provides), and would otherwise be carrying the station's
SportsNet LA would be available to all cable, satellite and telco subscribers
throughout the Dodgers home television territory.
All parties would enter into binding baseball-style arbitration pursuant to the
rules of the American Arbitration Association which, pursuant to its practices,
would appoint three qualified neutral arbitrators.
The Arbitrators would determine the amount to be paid (carriage fee) by the
cable, satellite and tel co companies for the 20 14 season, including games aired
prior to the conclusion of the arbitration process.
The Arbitrators would also determine the price to be paid (carriage fee) by the
cable, satellite and tel co providers for the 20 15 season.
The Arbitrators would take into consideration all relevant data regarding
regional sports networks not only in Los Angeles but across the country. The
parties would cooperate in providing relevant information, and the Arbitrators
would keep proprietary information confidential.
The parties would begin separate negations to determine the terms under which
SportsNet LA would be shown on all area cable and satellite households
throughout the Los Angeles area in 2016 and subsequent years.
I realize this is a private business matter. To the extent that any federal agency has a
jurisdiction, it is the Federal Communications Commission, not an ad hoc group of 6 Los
Angeles area members of Congress. That said, I hope the July 28 letter signed by myself
and my colleagues will prod the top management of the corporations involved, and the
leadership of the Federal Communications Commission, to give this matter the highest
priority. Accordingly I am available to discuss this matter with any of the interested
parties, particularly because Congress is adjourned for the summer.
Member of Congress
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