Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error There is a very simple path for the Dodgers to increase their television footprint in Southern California: Let someone else do it.A proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast Corporation is currently being reviewed by both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. If it’s approved, approximately 350,000 Charter Communications cable customers in California would become Time Warner customers. Many would gain access to the Dodgers’ seldom-seen network, SportsNet LA.SportsNet LA is only available locally to Time Warner customers, who comprise an estimated 30 percent of the Southern California market. Charter’s current footprint includes large pockets of Malibu, Glendale, Long Beach and the San Gabriel Valley. So, a Time Warner/Comcast merger appears to be the quickest fix for many blacked-out fans in these areas. Time is of the essence. The Dodgers’ first televised Cactus League game is March 4 and the first regular-season game is less than seven weeks away. As the stalemate between Time Warner and satellite provider DirecTV persists, the clock ticks louder. Cardenas’ voice is an important one locally. Last year, he unsuccessfully implored the FCC to mediate negotiations between Time Warner and DirecTV over SportsNet LA. But he vehemently opposes the quick fix provided by a potential Time Warner/Comcast merger.“It’s bad for consumers, it’ll harm competition, it’ll lead to less diverse content and more expensive cable Internet access, and it’ll eliminate good jobs in California,” he said.Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten declined to comment Thursday on how the proposed merger would impact the visibility of SportsNet LA. However, in a December interview on MLB Network, Kasten hinted at the importance of the merger to the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA strategy.Asked if he predicted the standoff would end by April 1, Kasten said, “I’m reasonably confident because of all the various business deals going on. We think when that gets settled we expect the full coverage to be a part of the overall solution.”Two separate business transactions are involved in the process. One would involve a customer swap between Comcast and Charter in which Charter would give Comcast about 1.6 million customers nationally. That transaction is contingent on the separate Time Warner/Comcast merger being approved.While many new customers would have access to SportsNet LA if those deals go through, other problems would emerge, according to David Goodfriend, chairman of the Sports Fans Coalition.“It’s still not everybody in the L.A. area,” he said. “It’s not the DirecTV subscribers, not the Dish Network subscribers, not the Telco subscribers. If you really want to hit everybody, put the games on broadcast – which is precisely what the Dodgers did at the end of last season.”Time Warner and the Dodgers agreed to air the final six regular-season games of 2014 locally on KDOC.“You’re going to have a bigger withholding problem” if the merger goes through, Goodfriend added. “What are people going to do? Now you have to buy Comcast even if Dish or DirecTV is cheaper. You’ve got to pay top dollar for cable – that’s what they want you to conclude – because that’s the only way you get to watch the Dodgers.”Goodfriend cited what he believes are similar precedents in Philadelphia, Charlotte and Portland. There, he said, the regional sports rights to the Flyers, Bobcats and Trail Blazers, respectively, were held by either Comcast or Time Warner. Other providers were marginalized in those regions, Goodfriend said, while cable bills rose.With Comcast and Time Warner energized to push its merger proposal through Washington, SportsNet LA negotiations are on the back burner. DirecTV, which claims an estimated two million customers in Southern California, might not be able to force the issue until the merger situation is resolved.“Last season ended on an encouraging note with Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers allowing everyone to see the final games on a local independent station,” DirecTV said in a statement Thursday. “As Dodger teammates begin reporting to spring training, we’re optimistic the same goodwill can carry over to this new MLB season and remain hopeful we can achieve a compromise with Time Warner Cable and the Dodger front office to satisfy loyal fans who deserve to see their team contend for another NL West title.” But the simple solution isn’t always the best one. At least, that was the unanimous message delivered Wednesday by an unusual coalition of activists who oppose the Time Warner/Comcast merger: a local member of Congress, Hollywood writers, an advocate for Spanish-speaking cable customers and a sports consumer advocate.Speaking in Los Angeles, Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-San Fernando Valley) said the proposed merger “would change the world, literally, and in some ways not for the better.”“We know that while the effects will be felt nationally, Los Angeles will be the hardest hit in the center of the entertainment industry,” Cardenas said.Cardenas said he has met with representatives from Comcast, Time Warner and the FCC to voice his concerns about the merger. Additionally, Cardenas penned a letter to the FCC and DoJ to highlight threats the merger poses to independent programming providers. His primary example: Estrella TV, a smaller competitor to the much larger Telemundo – another Spanish-language network that is owned by Comcast.Few Washington lawmakers have publicly opposed the merger. Minnesota Senator Al Franken is perhaps the most prominent.