Disney-owned ESPN says Verizon never got permission to offer its channels in 'custom' bundle

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,196   +120
Staff member

verizon fios espn disney cable tv cable bundle sling tv over-the-top espn 2

Last week, Verizon announced plans to offer its customers a custom television package consisting of a core selection of channels with the option to purchase add-on channel bundles a la Sling TV. If you recall, the core package was to consist of 36 channels although noticeably absent was ESPN, a channel that – along with ESPN 2 and ESPN U – was included as part of the Sports channel pack.

That’s a pairing that simply won’t fly, according to Disney-owned ESPN.

In a statement to Re/code, an ESPN spokesperson noted that media reports about Verizon’s new contemplated bundles describe packages that would not be authorized by existing agreements. Among other issues, the spokesperson said their contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN 2 may be distributed in a separate sports package.

verizon fios espn disney cable tv cable bundle sling tv over-the-top espn 2

As of writing, Verizon hasn’t issued a response. But what’s interesting here is that ESPN’s statement implies that Verizon never got their permission (and maybe never even ran the idea by them) to build custom plans and / or relegate ESPN and ESPN 2 to a separate sports package.

What’s more, Re/code spoke with a person familiar with another programmer involved in Verizon’s offering that said they hadn’t signed off on the new plan either. This person suggested that Verizon simply thought its agreements allowed them to test out different configurations as part of a limited trial.

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Posts: 349   +132
Doesn't matter - I ran the math.

54.99 for 36 + ~20 channels (depending on packages chosen). Add in 11.99 for a HD STB rental, plus all the random fees and taxes on my current bill and it cam out to about $80/month.

So, 56 channels for $80/month. I pay $160/month total bill with 50/50 MBPS internet and get over 1,500 channels (500 in HD).

Good try Verizion, but Ill just go internet only for $50 month for 50/50 mbps and get unlimited internet TV. My antenna gets me 36 local channels in HD OTA.


Posts: 5,129   +3,219
Desperate moves by Verizon. That Disney is saying this somehow comes as no surprise, and I believe Disney.

As with the other streaming services that are popping up like dog $hit in parks :eek:, it sounds like Verizon is attempting to repackage what they already have at prices that are more expensive than what they currently offer. It is entirely behavior like this that will drive even more people away from the traditional model and, at least for me anyway, will keep them away from their over-priced streaming models, too.