The NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche are just days away from starting their new seasons, and the Colorado-based regional sports network that carries the two pro teams wants to remind everyone in the region that it's the dominant cable provider's fault that they still can't watch the games on the area's biggest pay TV system, Comcast Xfinity TV.
Appearing Tuesday outside Ball Arena, physical home to the two major sports franchises, Matt Hutchings, CEO of KSE Media Ventures, the Stan Kroenke-controlled parent company of Altitude, introduced a new billboard campaign that will simply ask, "Why did Comcast dump us?"
“It’s going to remind our fans that we're doing everything we can for them to get Altitude back on Comcast and to remind Comcast of the offer that we made and that we're willing to step to the table and get the deal done,” Hutchings told a throng of local media covering the event.
In September 2019, Altitude — which reaches the multi-state ”Rocky Mountain Region“ — was removed from Comcast's program guide amid a fee dispute. Altitude does have carriage on Charter Spectrum, but Comcast controls 92% of cable homes in the RSN's carriage zone.
Since the blackout started, there's been a lot of back and forth, as well as litigation started by KSE. State lawmakers even tried to intervene, but the bill they sponsored never went anywhere. Recently wrapped mediation didn't close the chasm, either.
And in July, KSE said it sent a proposal to Comcast, asking the cable operator to pay it what it offers the region’s other major RSN, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies.
More than 70 days later, KSE said Comcast still hasn't responded.
“Since the July 2022 mediation related to the lawsuit, there‘s been no new proposal from Altitude, and they are continuing to proceed with their lawsuit,” Comcast said in a statement provided to the Denver Post. “Altitude’s position requires nearly every Comcast customer in the Denver area to pay a fee increase for Comcast to broadcast the Altitude channel on TV, regardless of whether they watch the channel. We have been and remain willing to distribute Altitude’s content in a way that avoids raising rates for virtually all our customers.”
In the meantime, in addition to trying to put marketing pressure on Comcast, Altitude has found alternative distribution paths.
Last week, the RSN announced a carriage deal with virtual MVPD fuboTV. And earlier, it secured distribution on Evoca, a unique vMVPD that distributes a skinny bundle of broadcast channels and RSNs for $25 a month. ■
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!