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.”
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.