As threatened, ESPN has filed suit in New York’s Supreme Court over Verizon’s decision to include the sports network in its new discounted pay-TV package.
The legal fight could slow efforts to create programming for young “cord cutters” who eschew traditional cable packages in favor of streaming online options.
Verizon is offering its 35-channel Custom TV subscription package for $55 per month, with the option of adding other tiers of programming, including a sports package that includes ESPN, for $10 each.
ESPN’s complaint centers on the fact that the cheaper service gives subscribers the option of bypassing the sports channel, violating a contract that requires that ESPN be included in the main bundle of programming. Despite the legal fight, ESPN has not so far pulled its channel from the sports pack.
“Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want,” Verizon said in response to ESPN’s lawsuit.