As of 2006, the Lakers and Dodgers will both call KCAL (channel 9) home. (This is only for over the air games, both teams also have deals with Fox Sports for cable.) That could be good news for the Dodgers, KCAL does a nice job with pre- and post-game shows, having reporters with the teams and a well-liked former player (James Worthy) providing commentary. With the Lakers it is a professional package, and something similar could be good for the Dodgers (at least as good or better than what they have now).
But as this comment thread at Dodger Thoughts discusses, there also could be some overlap. Late season and playoff Laker games is April and May (and, light a candle in church, June) could cause scheduling conflicts with early season Dodger games. Not many, frankly, because the schedule of both teams is known and the only unknown quantity is the NBA playoff schedule, where KCAL would only have rights to the first round (after that TNT/ESPN/ABC take over). Still, it could happen.
If, someday, KCAL is forced to make a choice, don’t assume they’d go with the Lakers because of better ratings. Last season on Fox Sports West, the Dodgers drew an early-season average of 3.9 (or almost 209,000 households). The Lakers this season have drawn anywhere from a 2.4 (Nov. 7 against Atlanta) to a 4.5 (Nov. 17 against the Clippers). Ratings were up for the Dodgers last year to numbers better than the average NBA game on Fox Sports West (or FSW2), although the Clippers drag that number down. As best as I can tell, Dodger and Laker regular season numbers are pretty close, although late season Laker numbers may well be higher while early season Dodger numbers would still be gathering steam.
Not that any of this matters that much — my remote will let me flip between KCAL and FSW2 just fine.
Update: If you like to follow the ratings game, Larry Stewart’s media column in the L.A. Times talks baseball ratings this week.