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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After a six-year stalemate that saw almost half of Southern California blacked out from watching Dodgers games, Spectrum Networks finally reached a deal with AT&T to carry SportsNet LA, the team's regional sports network.

The backdrop: Millions of Dodgers fans have been unable to watch games on SportsNet LA since 2014, depriving them of six straight NL West titles, two World Series trips and one farewell tour for the great Vin Scully.

  • The trouble began in 2013, when the Dodgers launched SportsNet LA and sold exclusive broadcast and streaming rights to Time Warner Cable in a landmark 25-year, $8.35 billion deal.
  • TWC offered the channel to DirecTV and other competing providers, but they balked at the high price tag, leaving TWC — now Charter Spectrum — as the only distributor that carried SportsNet LA for the past six years.
  • Worth noting: In 2016, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against DirecTV, accusing the company of colluding with AT&T, Cox and Charter to virtually ensure a de facto boycott of SportsNet LA.

The big picture: "And so began one of the longest-running, greed-driven, let's-take-fans-for-granted debacles in American sports history," writes Steve Lopez for the L.A. Times.

  • "One argument from the Dodgers has been that the broadcast-rights bonanza has paid to put a first-rate team on the field, but two straight World Series washouts may be penance for the deal with the devil."

What they're saying: I texted two L.A. natives for their reaction to this long-awaited deal, which still leaves customers of Dish Network and other providers out in the cold, but bodes well for them eventually getting the channel.

  • My uncle: "As someone who has lived within walking distance of Dodger Stadium for nearly six years — to literally not be able see almost all the games has been beyond bizarre. This has been such a self-inflicted wound by all parties, including MLB, who should never allow a TV contract like this again."
  • ESPN's Ramona Shelburne: "The Dodgers are a civic institution here. Not only was the team great these last few years, Vin Scully called his last baseball games. Such a shame corporate politics got in the way of that. This came from so far out of nowhere, I actually debated for a moment whether I should note it was not an April Fool's joke."

What to watch: L.A. isn't the only city where a significant number of fans have been — or might soon be — blacked out from watching games. A few examples:

  • Chicago: Marquee Sports Network, a joint venture between the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group, still does not have a deal with Comcast, which boasts roughly half the TV households in the Chicago area.
  • Colorado: Nearly six months have passed without Nuggets or Avalanche programming on Comcast, Colorado's largest TV provider, and the dispute could extend through 2021.
  • New York: YouTube TV dropped YES Network last month.

Go deeper: The appeal of regional sports networks

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.