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ESPN objects to Verizon's flexible FiOS TV plans

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 18, 2015
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You may like Verizon's more flexible FiOS TV packages, but ESPN sure doesn't. The Disney-owned sports network claims that these offerings break contracts which prevent carriers from putting ESPN and ESPN2 into a separate sports package -- typically, they have to be included with other Disney channels. The company isn't directly accusing Verizon of going rogue, but a Recode source claims that the telecom didn't ask for permission. While Verizon tells the Wall Street Journal that it crafted the packages to avoid trouble, the insider says that the provider believed its existing deals would let it test these smaller bundles without a conflict. Clearly, ESPN would beg to differ.

We've reached out to Verizon for its response to the allegations, and we'll let you know if it has more to add. Whatever the scoop may be, it's safe to say that Disney will fight hard to put ESPN in the base package. ESPN got its dominance in part because it's ubiquitous in TV bundles -- Verizon is treating it more as a specialty station. As much as you might want to pay solely for the channels you'll actually watch, it's doubtful that Disney will willingly sacrifice this cash cow in the name of convenience.

[Image credit: Elsa/Getty Images]

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