Disney ESPN

After a war of words that got pretty ugly complete with a political-style attack ad, Altice and Disney have come together on an agreement that averts a blackout. Altice’s Optimum system had run a negative commercial against Disney claiming it was unfairly seeking a price increase for ESPN. However, the two sides reached a tentative agreement ahead of a 5 p.m. ET Sunday deadline.

The agreement manages to keep ABC, ESPN and other Disney channels on Optimum. Both companies issued a joint statement on the deal:

“We have reached an agreement in principle and have extended the deadline accordingly to try and finalize the terms.”

Altice had argued that Disney was seeking huge increases for networks (ESPN in particular) that were “collapsing before our eyes.” Disney for its part said it had reached deals with other pay TV providers, including emerging streaming services.

Still, the two sides were at loggerheads, but seemed to find some harmony when they agreed to a 24-hour extension last Friday due to Yom Kippur.

One sticking point for Altice had been ESPN’s SEC Network and the upcoming ACC Network. The company said there weren’t enough viewers to justify carrying either college sports network, and that saw some to view ESPN putting College GameDay in New York City as a possible negotiating ploy. When the official announcement is made either later today or Tuesday, expect Disney to triumphantly announce that both networks will be part of the Optimum lineup.

The agreement keeps upcoming sporting events on Optimum like Monday Night Football and the American League Wild Card Game involving the New York Yankees.

[Variety]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.