Verizon Strips Sports Out of FiOS TV 'Select HD' Package

Verizon Communications now offers a totally sports-free FiOS TV package, “Select HD,” with a lineup of 30 HD channels that excludes ESPN and other dedicated sports networks priced $15 less per month than its regular entry-level HD tier.

Sports “is not everyone’s cup of tea,” Verizon director of media relations Bill Kula wrote in a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing the new package. “In fact, we have many customers for whom watching sports is akin to me watching a fashion or dance program (not fun for me at least).”

On standalone basis, FiOS TV Select HD is $49.99 per month. That’s compared with $64.99 monthly for the FiOS TV Prime HD package, which provides more than 210 channels (with 55-plus in HD).

Select HD "provides more choice programming and at a great value,” according to Kula.

Subscribers who take the FiOS TV Select HD package will still receive sports programming aired on local TV channels, as well as on cable networks such as TBS.

The package provides 145 channels total, including local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC), 46 Music Choice channels and 30 channels in HD. Cable networks include TBS, Disney Channel, Nick, Cartoon Network, CNN, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, The Discovery Channel, USA Network, AMC, FX, BET, Bravo, Food Network, HGTV and TLC. FiOS Select HD does not include TNT, Fox News Channel, Travel Network "and a few other notables," Kula wrote.

Verizon's two other core TV packages are Extreme HD (290-plus channels; 75 in HD) for $74.99 per month standalone; and the all-inclusive Ultimate HD (385-plus channels; 110 in HD) for $89.99 per month standalone.

As with its other TV packages, FiOS TV Select HD is available in double- and triple-play bundles with FiOS Internet and voice services.

Separately Tuesday, Verizon announced fourth quarter 2012 results. In the period, the telco added a 134,000 net new FiOS TV subscribers to end the year with 4.73 million customers.