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How the Dodgers are losing a generation of fans

NLCS - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Five

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: A general view as the Chicago Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

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My friend Bob Timmermann is a longtime Dodgers fan. But he lives in Los Angeles so, like a lot of Dodgers fans, he can’t see the Dodgers on TV due to the carriage dispute between Spectrum/Time Warner, which owns Dodgers broadcasts, and the other carriers which will not pay the exorbitant fees Spectrum/Time Warner is demanding.

We hear about all of this mostly when some new court case pops up. I personally hear about this most loudly from intense, diehard Dodgers fans, angry about not being able to see their team through normal channels. They beef a lot about the shady, sometimes expensive lengths they have to go to in order to see their team.

The folks we don’t hear much from, however, are people like Bob. We don’t hear much because, as he describes, he’s not angry, as such. He was mildly bummed, but since 2014 life has gone on and he simply hasn’t watched the Dodgers. Now they’re just a thing to which he’s mildly and tenuously attached:

The biggest difference between being a Dodgers fan now and one from just five years ago is intensity. When I could easily see the Dodgers on TV, I would be thinking about the team a lot. I would be very much invested in the daily ups and downs of the team. I would block out time at home to make sure to watch a game. Now, the Dodgers are something I can just check in on to see how they’re doing without investing as much mental energy. Over time, the Dodgers may end up meaning as much to me as any of L.A.'s other pro sports teams. Which doesn’t bode well for the Dodgers as I am hard pressed to name more than 3 or 4 members of teams like the Lakers, Clippers, or Rams.

The Dodgers have made a lot of money due to their massive TV deal with Spectrum/Time Warner. But that will end one day. And when it does, they will have sacrificed an entire generation of fans, like Bob, who were devoted to the team when they were actually able to be but who mostly moved on when the team made it all but impossible for people to enjoy their games.

It may very well prove to have been a shortsighted play.

Follow @craigcalcaterra