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Boys in Blue prove scarce in SCV sports bars

Posted: April 25, 2014 3:01 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2014 3:01 p.m.

Looking for a public place to watch the Santa Clarita Valley Dodgers Day game tomorrow night? Don’t expect to find the Boys in Blue on the TV at your favorite local watering hole.

Since the Dodgers inked a 25-year, multi-billion-dollar TV contract with Time Warner Cable, and Time Warner is in a standoff with DirectTV on a distribution deal, there are few sports bars in town serving up Dodgers games with the beer and nuts.

In fact, according to the DodgersBeat blog list of bars or restaurants in Los Angeles County with Time Warner Cable’s Dodgers channel, SportsNet LA, only one is in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Victor Cruz, franchise owner of that one — Sharkey’s Woodfired Mexican Grill in Valencia — says the restaurant didn’t switch to Time Warner to show the Dodgers and is still trying to work out a marketing strategy to make a little green on its exclusivity.

Restaurants and bars in Santa Clarita without SportsNet LA — BJ’s, TGI Fridays, Red Robin, Buffalo Wild Wings, Shooters Bar & Billiards, All Star Sports Grill, Big Wangs, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery and Elephant Bar Restaurant — all have DirecTV, Dish Network, or both.

And none seems terribly worried about the lack of Los Angeles baseball for their taverns. It may all come down, one owner said, to a popularity contest between baseball and football.

Paul Hughes, co-owner of All Star Sports Grill, thinks business hasn’t been hurt because most bars are in the same boat — they don’t have the Dodgers’ games — so people aren’t leaving one establishment for another to see the Dodgers.

And like All Star, other restaurants without Time Warner haven’t rushed to switch over.

“It’s not worth it for most bars to get Time Warner because it doesn’t offer sports packages that DirecTV (does),” said Kevin Cummings, a manager at All Star, which has DirecTV.

DirecTV exclusively provides NFL Sunday Ticket, a package that includes every out-of-market NFL game.

“Every bar has to have Sunday NFL Ticket — that is what drives sales,” Hughes said. “Football is No. 1.”

In addition to the football factor, Hughes said, he wouldn’t switch to Time Warner because it required a three-year contract.

“I know this thing is going to get settled soon enough,” said Hughes of the standoff between Time Warner and DirecTV over SportsNet LA.

“It’s a waiting game — wait until a deal gets done and then everyone wins.”



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