College football fans were ready to watch the showdown between Florida and Utah on Thursday night, but were met with an unfortunate surprise from Disney and Charter communications.
The ESPN studio show had wrapped up and they were sending it out to Utah for the kickoff between the Gators and Utes. There was only one problem though, both Disney and Charter, which owns Spectrum, had not reached an agreement on broadcast rights.
As you can imagine, fans were livid, especially Florida fans, with Spectrum being one of the major broadcast companies for the state. Not only did the coverage not begin, but right when they were about to start the game broadcast, an unfortunate message popped up on viewer screens.
The New York Post reached out to Disney for a comment on the matter, with the network confirming both entities had not reached an agreement. The situation only got worse for Spectrum subscribers as they tried to get an explanation on the blackout.
Multiple users on social media mentioned that when they tried to speak with an agent over the phone, the customer service agents were clearly overwhelmed.
I decided to reach out to see what type of answer I could get from Spectrum, and was asked if I was calling about ESPN. Once I told the agent I was, they immediately told me there was nothing they could do about it, not offering any type of gift or discount.
Spectrum has released a full statement on a website called DisneyESPNFairDeal.com, saying in-part ‘Spectrum is on your side and fighting to keep costs down while protecting and maximizing customer choice’.
Not only was Thursday night a total loss, but fans hoping to watch college football this weekend are now praying that the two companies figure it out. Also, it’s not only football fans who are suffering, as the company also has FX, National Geographic, FreeForm and 23 other channels.
We’ve seen this happen numerous times in the past, with NextStar and DirectTv having a spat over television right fees. This was brutal for sports fans hoping to watch a game on local ABC or other channels.
Disney had a pretty strong rebuttal for Charter’s statement, saying in part that ‘The rates and terms we are seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace’. Disney did say they were working on a mutual deal, but urged Charter to work with them to minimize the disruption.
We will see if the two sides can come to an agreement over the next 24 hours, with a massive weekend of football ahead. If not, YouTube TV might be the way to go for viewers hoping to sit on the couch all weekend.