Altitude Scores Dish Deal

In its first major distribution deal, Denver-based upstart regional sports network Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network Thursday reached a long-term carriage deal with EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Dish will offer Altitude on its Top 60-plus tier when the network launches in September, according to Dish vice president of programming Eric Sahl. It’s unclear how many of Dish’s 10 million subscribers will have access to the network.
For Altitude, which will offer Denver Nuggets National Basketball Association games and Colorado Avalanche National Hockey League contests, the deal helps further solidify its position in the market.
“I think the deal sets the tone for what will come next,” Altitude president Jim Martin said. “What the deal does is demonstrate the value of what we’re providing, both from a content and pricing standpoint.”
For Dish, the deal provides the satellite service with extensive marketing and promotional opportunities, including placement of a 50,000 square foot Dish logo on the Pepsi Center arena, which is owned by Altitude principal owners Kroenke Sports Enterprises.
Sahl also said Dish has not finalized a long-term agreement with Fox Sports Net, which owns the competing Fox Sports Rocky Mountain regional sports network, although he would not reveal when that deal expires.
Both Altitude and Dish said they would aggressively promote the service in the Denver DMA in an effort to siphon away cable viewers.
“We’re hopeful that anyone that’s passionate about the Avs and the Nuggets will act to subscribe with us right away to assure that they will have the games this fall,” Sahl said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.