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Customers, Mayor Plead for Padres on Time Warner

Filner threatens boycott of Time Warner if the company decides not to air games

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 19: Everth Cabrera #2 of the San Diego Padres throws to first as Erick Aybar #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the seventh inning of a baseball game at Petco Park on May 19, 2012 in San Diego, California. Aybar was out at second, but Cabrera was unable to turn the double play. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

    A few Time Warner Cable customers pleaded with their cable company at a San Diego City Hall meeting on Tuesday, saying they want the company to air Padres games.

    Fox Sports currently controls the television rights to Padres games and has agreements with five other providers. But negotiations with Time Warner are stuck.

    Filner Threatens Boycott of Time Warner Cable

    [DGO]Filner Threatens Boycott of Time Warner Cable
    Mayor Bob Filner weighed in on the Time Warner Cable issue, saying it s unfair for the company to withhold the ball games. He said his office would help organize a boycott if the company does not make a deal with Fox Sports.

    Some cable customers said they want their company to air Padres games. But a Time Warner executive said it's too expensive and many customers who don't want it would have to pay more every month.

    "Let me be clear from the outset. Time Warner cable wants to televise Padres' baseball,” said Dean Levenworth with Time Warner. “We'll sign on if Fox Sports is willing to do something at a lower price.”

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    [DGO] San Diego Cable Wars Explained
    Consumer Bob explains the complicated battle between Time Warner Cable SportsNet and other cable and satellite providers around time, as they try to get a piece of the coverage for the San Diego State Aztecs top ranked basketball team.

    Fox executives argue that they already extended a reasonable price to Time Warner.

    “We offered Time Warner fair market rate which we offered to the other cable providers, but [they] are unwilling to pay it,” said Henry Ford from Fox Sports San Diego.

    Cable customers voiced their concern, anger and complaints at the city hall meeting, saying they would like to watch games from the comfort of home. One upset customer even said he said he never would have voted for Petco Park to be built if he knew he couldn’t watch the Padres on TV.

    “I think it’s terrible that we have a Major League Baseball team here in our town and we can’t even watch them on TV,” said Leslie Granger.

    Even Mayor Bob Filner weighed in on the issue and said he is frustrated Time Warner won’t accept Fox Sport’s offer.

    “I think it’s completely unreasonable and unconscionable that half our city does not have access to the Padres on television,” Mayor Bob Filner told NBC 7 San Diego. “Five out of six cable providers are providing it so it seems like the market rate is clear and Time Warner should be able to do this”

    Filner offered to mediate with Time Warner and Fox Sports and has set up an email account for Time Warner subscribers to channel their frustration at Gopadres@sandiego.gov.

    Filner said he’d like subscribers to use that email to tell Time Warner that they object to the policy and they’d be willing to pledge to discontinue their service. He also said he’d support a city boycott of Time Warner’s cable service.

    “I’m ready to use my office to help organize that,” he said. “The Major League team is part of your city, it’s part of the spirit and it’s part of who we are. … I think this is one of their public responsibilities and they need to recognize it.”

    Time Warner and Fox Sports have agreed to meet privately next week on a possible deal.

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