Bob Filner To Time-Warner Cable: “COME ON! DO IT NOW!”

Yesterday, Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel joined Scott & BR on the team’s flagship (err, only radio affiliate) to discuss the situation with Time-Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego (here’s a transcript, since I’m trusting you’re not a “Great Friend”). Giving a rundown of the situation, Garf states that TWC suggests the only way they plan to pick up FSSD is if fans leave in droves:

“I think Time Warner, you know, we want them to pick up the games. We asked them directly, but they gave us really no indication that they plan to pick up the games. In fact, they suggested it’s not likely unless there’s a critical mass of their customers who leave to their competitors.”

Garf also suggested that Time-Warner has taken a stance in negotiations, and refuses to budge:

“Fox made them an offer and said, ‘Hey, here’s what it cost to carry the games.’ And Time Warner came back and said, ‘Here’s what we’re wiling to pay.’ And Fox came back with a counter offer that was then accepted by the other four carriers and Time Warner hasn’t really moved off their position from a year ago.”

Today, Matthew T. Hall of the UT writes that Mayor Bob Filner may be stepping into the situation. Filner wrote this in a letter to Time-Warner Cable executives:

“I strongly urge you to reconsider your current decision not to provide your customers with Padres baseball this season, and act in a manner deserving of your customers’ trust and continued business. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor this situation and am prepared to take the steps necessary to bring about a resolution prior to the 2013 baseball season.”

“I understand that companies must make decisions that are in the best interest of their bottom line,” Filner wrote to Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt and Executive Vice President Melinda Witmer. “That said, when every other major video provider in the region has reached an agreement with Fox Sports and your network has ceased discussions, one is left questioning Time Warner Cable’s true motivations.”

Filner added, “The civic camaraderie that sports teams bring to an area cannot be overstated. As Mayor, I will do everything in my power to ensure San Diegans around the region are able to follow and support our hometown baseball team.”

However, as Hall notes, this letter was sent two weeks ago. And since then, both the mayor’s office and the city haven’t had much to say when Hall has pressed them for an update:

In fact, a Filner spokeswoman responded to my Feb. 20 request for “any and all letters the city has distributed to anyone involved in this television situation” by dancing around it. Instead of sharing the letter and airing the criticism more publicly, Filner’s Office forwarded my email to the City Clerk’s Office and began a process by which city officials have 10 days under state law to respond to public records requests. So far, they have yet to do anything other than acknowledge that request.

After I obtained a copy of Filner’s letter by other means Thursday, I emailed Time Warner Cable, Fox Sports San Diego and the mayor’s spokespeople for comment.

The Mayor’s Office didn’t reply immediately and a Time Warner spokesman said he couldn’t respond “tonight.”


Mayor Bob Filner (artist’s rendering)

It could be posturing on the mayor’s part. Though, as Hall notes, Filner joined in at Hall’s “Padres to the People” rally at Petco Park, stating that then-mayor Jerry Sanders should have already gotten involved. So, this isn’t the first time Filner has inserted himself into the situation.

In the end, it’s still a nonsensical situation. Fans who may not be able to switch to any other provider due to their living situation (rent, HOA guidelines or contracts with cable company, obstructions) are SOL. Hopefully, there’s a resolution to all of this soon. Because, frankly, it’s boring. If the Mayor can help get something done, then here’s hoping he does. For the sake of a large percentage of the county’s Padres fans.

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  • The season’s almost here, time to make the switch. And good Predator reference.


    • VM David

      My father-in-law seems to be holding out hope that TWC picks up FSSD. He’s going to switch if they don’t have the Padres by opening day. I’m not sure he’s going to make it that long, at this point.

      I really feel for the people who have no choice but to stay with TWC. It’s easy to say “JUST SWITCH”, but not everyone can.

      • It took a full month for UVerse to get out to my house for instillation because they are so busy with conversions. So if the FIL wants them on opening day, he may want to order it now. Switching is pretty easy too, its really not that hard. You order it, you don’t pay until its installed. Same day its installed you cancel the other services. Takes like an hour to set up your DVR again.

      • VM David

        Thanks for the heads up. I think he’s going DirecTV, but I’ll pass that along just in case.

    • VM David

      Oh, and I really wish I could have used “I’M A COP, YOU IDIOT!” But, well, he’s not.

      • If Sanders was still the mayor you could have.

  • Reaction from Henry Ford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, FOX Sports San Diego:

    “It’s very encouraging to have Mayor Filner bring attention to this issue and hold Time Warner Cable accountable. Every other major provider in San Diego– Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, and AT&T– sees the value and has chosen to offer Padres telecasts to their customers. Time Warner Cable’s refusal to offer these games to the San Diego community is inexplicable, especially in light of their unprecedented spending on sports rights in Los Angeles.”

  • Gosh, it makes me so mad when organizations look at the prices and opt not to buy!

    • VM David

      Everyone else paid market value, while TWC is sitting by and telling their customers “sorry, we tried!”

      • Personally, I think it’s a better strategy for TWC to save their money till next winter. That’s when it’ll be really valuable!

      • VM David

        TWC isn’t really looking to comp-err, televise games until 2014-2015, anyway.

  • I switched from TWC to ATT UVerse last month. When TWC asked us why, I told them: 1) They are not carrying FSSD, and 2) We could bundle with our cell phones for a great deal and $100 in rebates. Its super easy too.

    1) You walk into the ATT store in Mission Valley tell them the stations you want. (FSSD, and TWCSN were the two I really wanted), the speed of internet you want, and if you want / have phones (land or cell).

    2) They match you with the best deal possible. (We bundled: cells, internet (slightly faster than TWC at the price point), TV). We ended up qualifying for $250 in rebate cards as well.

    3) They send someone out to your house 3-4 weeks later to install.

    4) As soon as its finished you call TWC and tell them to f**k off.

    You then get to sit in your own apartment to watch Padres Baseball, and depending on your package, a lot of college basketball / Downton Abby, and random cooking shows.

  • Gloccamorra

    Mayor Filner has SOME power – Cox can’t compete with TWC because of the City franchise agreement. TWC operates under a City franchise agreement! There must be something in the agreement about “serving” the citizens in a proper manner, and if Filner can get the Council and City Attorney to look into TWC’s performance from a “best interests of the public” basis, he’s got a real hammer to swing.