ESPN is one of the many Disney entertainment channels that have been shut down on the Charter Spectrum cable system
Joe Ready AP Sports Writer
August 31, 2023, 9:59 pm ET
• read 3 minutes
ESPN is one of the many Disney entertainment channels that have taken off on the Charter Spectrum cable system.
A carriage dispute between the nation’s second-largest cable TV provider — which is the dominant carrier in New York and Los Angeles, among several other markets — and Disney shut down channels Thursday night.
There were also college football games on the SEC Network, ACC Network and ESPNU.
The move angered sports fans and the US Tennis Association was not pleased with the timing.
“We are deeply disappointed for our fans and viewers across the country that Spectrum and Charter could not resolve their dispute with Disney, which resulted in the loss of ESPN coverage of Thursday night matches. “We are hopeful that this dispute can be resolved as soon as possible,” USTA spokesman Chris Widmeyer said in a statement.
Charter Spectrum and The Walt Disney Company both said in statements that talks had been ongoing for some time.
In addition to all ESPN network channels, ABC-owned stations, Disney-branded channels, Freeform, FX and the National Geographic channel have gone dark on Charter Spectrum.
“Disney Entertainment has made successful deals with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country, and the rates and terms we are seeking in this renewal are market-driven. We remain committed to reaching a mutually agreeable solution with Charter, and we urge them to work with us to minimize disruption to their customers, Disney Entertainment said in a statement.
“We offered Disney a fair deal, yet they are demanding exorbitant increases,” Charter Spectrum said in a note to customers. “They also want to limit our ability to offer customers more choice in programming packages, forcing you to pick up and pay for channels you don’t want. The rising cost of programming is one of the biggest reasons for the high prices of cable TV, and we’re working hard to stop the programming rates being imposed on us by companies like Disney.”
ESPN has traditionally had the highest carriage fees for cable companies. Disney received an average of $2.20 billion per year from taking on charter spectrum under the 2019 carriage deal, according to S&P Global.
Other cities where Charter Spectrum is the dominant cable carrier include Dallas/Fort Worth; Orlando Florida; Tampa, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Milwaukee; and Las Vegas.