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Altitude Still Off TV, Offers Stream To Denver Bars

“44 Denver-area bars have signed on to legally stream the Nuggets and Avalanche through November 2nd. Plans beyond this week have not been announced as Altitude still works to reach a deal with cable providers.”

Brandon Contes

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Altitude TV reached a deal to have Nuggets and Avalanche games legally streamed by an extensive list of local bars through the end of the week. The regional sports network remains in a dispute with the “Big Three” television providers in the Denver metro area, AT&T, DISH Network and Comcast.

When the dispute between Altitude and Denver cable providers began in August, there was hope a resolution would occur before the NHL and NBA seasons start. Weeks into both seasons, locals are still unable to watch the Nuggets and Avalanche. 

In the interim, Altitude has looked for ways to bring Denver’s local NBA and NHL teams to fans, most recently reaching a deal for a group of bars to stream their games. 44 Denver-area bars have signed on to legally stream the Nuggets and Avalanche through November 2nd. Plans beyond this week have not been announced as Altitude still works to reach a deal with cable providers. Currently though, a deal does not appear imminent. 

“It remains clear that the Big Three remain unconcerned about Nuggets and Avalanche fans ability to enjoy their hometown teams. We will continue to evaluate the viability of providing access to legal streaming of these games,” said Matt Hutchings, the COO of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment which owns Altitude. “We need to balance the needs of our fans and the concerns of these small business owners, with where we stand with Comcast, DIRECTV and DISH Network as they continue to stonewall the distribution of Altitude Sports.”

The three major cable providers, AT&T, Dish and Comcast have also released statements defending their handling of Altitude’s blackout. 

AT&T:
“Unfortunately, Altitude forced AT&T to remove its channel from our customers’ lineups. AT&T made a fair offer to keep the channel available, but Altitude rejected it. Consumers have made clear they want more choice over the channels they pay to receive in their homes. Our goal is to offer Rapids, Nuggets and Avalanche games to anyone who wants them most at a value that makes sense to our customers overall. We will not agree to bad deals that do a disservice to our customers, even if it means no longer carrying certain content.”

DISH Network:
“We love sports fans, but the deal Altitude has proposed makes no sense for the vast majority of our customers. Altitude is asking us to pay for a majority of subscribers – in the high double-digit percentages – when only a single-digit percentage of our customers actually watches the channel. It’s an outdated model that no longer works for consumers. There are creative solutions to bring back Altitude. We urge Altitude to work with us to reach a logical, long-term agreement for them, for us, but most importantly, for our mutual viewers.”

Comcast:
“We’ve offered Altitude different options which would ensure Nuggets and Avalanche fans can enjoy the games on Comcast.  Thus far, Altitude has rejected those offers.

“Every month, Comcast pays programmers like networks, local TV station owners and others – like Altitude — for the ability to bring their programming to our subscribers.  When contracts near an end, Comcast evaluates the terms to ensure we’re delivering our customers the best entertainment at the best value. We would like to reach a fair and reasonable fee agreement with Altitude while avoiding driving up costs for our customers.”

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Notre Dame Expects Next Media Rights Deal to be Worth $60 Million Annually

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Coduto

There are still a few more seasons until Notre Dame starts the process of hammering out a new media rights deal, but it’s believed the FBS independent could have its next partner shelling out more than double what NBC is currently paying.

NBC, which appears to be a front-runner alongside CBS to be one of the key rights partners in the Big Ten’s new contract, currently pays $25 million each year for rights to Fighting Irish football according to Front Office Sports.

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Viewership for Fighting Irish games was reportedly down 48% year-over-year for the 2021 season, averaging 2.5 million viewers. The year before that, the pandemic season in 2020, viewership for Notre Dame was its best since 2005.

Notre Dame remains an independent in football, but is in the ACC for its other programs. The Fighting Irish do play some ACC schools in football. With NBC and the Big Ten apparently becoming new partners, it’s believed that Notre Dame would then have more Big Ten opponents in football.

The current contract between the school and NBC ends in 2025.

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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