The skinny bundles marketed towards cord cutters bring those who want to get rid of cable or want to reduce their costs an opportunity to watch some of their favorite networks without having to pay those dreaded extra fees. When Verizon Fios first announced its Custom TV service, it did not include ESPN as part of its basic package. It included ESPN and its associated family of networks on a sports tier that normally aren’t purchased as much as other packages. In response, ESPN sued saying any exclusion from a basic package violated its agreements with the cable provider.
Now, it appears Verizon has managed to assuage ESPN and kept it from pursuing litigation. Verizon is now offering two basic packages for Custom TV, one that includes ESPN and one that doesn’t. The New York Post says the two packages will cost the same and offer channels that will cater to non-sports and sports fans alike:
“Essentials” targets non-sports fans with a lineup of broadcast channels and 78 cable networks devoted to entertainment, kids content, lifestyle and news. “Sports & More” serves sports fans with the broadcast channels and 59 general-interest and sports cable channels, including ESPN, ESPN2 and local-market regional sports networks.
While Disney officials like the fact that ESPN is now available to more customers, it still hasn’t withdrawn the lawsuit, but they’re saying they’re “encouraged” by Verizon’s new offerings which began Sunday. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to call off the Disney dogs or if Verizon will have further placate Disney.
It appears we haven’t heard the last of Verizon vs. Disney.