NBA commissioner Adam Silver Jun 1, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media before the game between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets in game one of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an exciting time in the Denver sports scene as the Nuggets reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. And yet, regional fans of the team have largely been unable to follow the team’s path to get here.

That’s because the Denver Nuggets are carried on Altitude Sports. Altitude, owned by Kroenke Sports Entertainment (which obviously also owns the Denver Nuggets, along with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and EPL’s Arsenal), is currently still embroiled in a carriage dispute with Comcast.

This has been an ongoing issue since 2019, when Altitude sued Comcast after its carriage deal lapsed in September 2019. Altitude filed an antitrust lawsuit against Comcast, the main television provider in the state of Colorado, for violation of state and federal antitrust laws. Altitude alleged at the time of the lawsuit that Comcast wants to extinguish competition from Altitude so that Comcast can pocket more of the money it takes from consumers each month for sports programming.”

Nearly four years later, the two parties are still at an impasse.

While the two parties reached a settlement in March, Avalanche and Nuggets games have continued to be blacked out in Colorado for the 2022-23 season. As the Denver Post writes, “Local Comcast customers have been unable to watch the two Kroenke Sports & Entertainment franchises since the 2019 contract expiration.”

No team’s fans should have to scramble to watch a game in 2023. And yet, here we are.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver agrees, calling it a “terrible situation,” while also acknowledging that the breakdown in recent years of the RSN (Regional Sports Network) model has helped lead to this moment. Speaking before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Silver told reporters that the league office has tried to meditate several times between the two parties, but to no avail. It’s a commercial dispute after all.

“There hasn’t been a simple resolution to it,” Silver said via Denver Sports. “I know there’s no doubt it’s bad for fans, of course, and the team recognizes that. It’s my hope, though, and one of the things that’s changed considerably since this dispute has started is the advent of many more streaming platforms, better digital streaming technology.”

For better or worse, Silver recognizes that this is a problem the NBA has to fix.

“It frustrates me because I think it’s a broken economic model where you have demand and the supply isn’t there, especially with a leading No. 1 seed team, Finals-caliber team here in Denver, the notion that local fans can’t watch the games—I have, incidentally, a brother who lives in Boulder, so I hear from him and his family all the time,” Silver said. “It makes no sense. It’s on us to fix it.”

[Denver Sports, Denver Post; photo from Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.