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Altitude Files Lawsuit Against Comcast

“Unable to reach a deal with Comcast, Altitude Sports is claiming the cable provider has negotiated unreasonably in hopes of eventually supplanting the independently owned network with one of their own RSNs.”

Brandon Contes

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Denver’s Altitude Sports is going to battle with Comcast, alleging the cable giant wants to drive out the independently owned RSN and replace it with one of their own. Altitude is controlled by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, the same company that owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids (MLS) and the Los Angeles Rams.

In August, Altitude was blacked out on DirecTV, Comcast and DISH Network, leaving Denver sports fans unable to watch their local teams as the NHL and NBA seasons began. On Halloween, Altitude announced they reached an agreement to relaunch the network on AT&T’s DirecTV, but the network remains dark on Comcast and DISH. 

Unable to reach a deal with Comcast, Altitude Sports is claiming the cable provider has negotiated unreasonably in hopes of eventually supplanting the independently owned network with one of their own RSNs. According to Altitude, Comcast has sought lower payouts and to remove the network from their basic cable package, but the cable provider does not impose similar terms on their own RSNs.

A majority of RSNs in the country are owned by either Comcast, AT&T or Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. Altitude is among the lesser amount of independently owned RSNs, such as MSG Networks and the New England Sports Network.

“During the same fifteen years of the relationship between Comcast and Altitude, Comcast has acquired independent RSNs all over the country in order to reduce competition for the licensing of sports programming,” the lawsuit states according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Comcast has also engaged in a series of large mergers and acquisitions that strengthen its control over multichannel television distribution in the Denver DMA and around the country.”

“Against this backdrop, in the past year, Comcast began making demands in negotiations with Altitude that Comcast knew made no economic sense and would drive Altitude out of business,” the lawsuit continued.” The demands represent dramatic cuts in rates to be paid to Altitude. Comcast’s proposals would also require subscribers that want to receive Altitude’s programming to pay even more to Comcast each month by moving Altitude from one of Comcast’s more widely distributed packages of channels to a package of television programming services for which the customer would have to pay an additional fee.”

Comcast responded to the allegations, calling them “meritless,” adding that they provided their customers with a credit, as seen in the Tweet below.

Earlier this month, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser began exploring why DirecTV and Comcast continued charging RSN fees after they stopped distribution of the Altitude Sports Network. Comcast ultimately gave customers a credit of $1.25, the amount they deemed the Altitude Sports Network to be worth to each monthly cable subscriber.

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

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Sports TV News

Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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