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SportsChannel Los Angeles: Wikis

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SportsChannel Los Angeles aired from 1989 to 1993 in the southern California area; it was a regional sports network.

Contents

Programming

SCLA featured live play-by-play of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the California Angels, and the Los Angeles Clippers. It also showed National Hockey League games, college football and college basketball through an affiliation with SportsChannel America.

As a premium cable service

SCLA was the successor to Z Channel, a famous avant-garde movie service still fondly remembered by local movie fans. Like its predecessor, SCLA was a premium cable service; in other words, cable subscribers had to pay an extra monthly fee to receive it. Officials obviously thought it would give SCLA a financial advantage compared to Prime Ticket, which had cable rights to show the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings games. Prime Ticket was a non-premium service (as was, and is, ESPN).

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Criticism

But the tactic backfired, as SCLA's subscriber base never matched that of Prime Ticket. Also, the system caused viewer complaints, none more so than on May 3, 1992. Because of the riots that rocked Los Angeles, a playoff game between the Clippers and Utah Jazz was moved to the Anaheim Convention Center and the game broadcast was taken off NBC and placed on TBS, which had to be blacked out in the L.A. area. SCLA then inherited the exclusive local rights. SCLA chose not to unscramble its signal, and, in letters to the Los Angeles Times and other sources, viewers complained that the game should have been made available to all subscribers as a public service.

Demise

In 1996, SportsChannel America folded and the remaining systems were placed into National Sports Partners, a holding company owned by Cablevision. SCLA was not on that list, as local officials had pulled the plug more than two years earlier. The Angels and Clippers immediately joined the Prime Ticket (now FSN West) lineup, while the Dodgers signed with Fox Sports West 2 (now FSN Prime Ticket) in 1997.


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