Altitude Sports breaks through on FuboTV

Altitude Sports, a regional sports net that still lacks deals with Comcast and Dish Network, has secured a multiyear deal to be offered on FuboTV, a sports-focused pay-TV streaming service.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

October 6, 2022

4 Min Read
Altitude Sports breaks through on FuboTV

Altitude TV, the regional TV home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, still lacks key distribution deals with Comcast and Dish Network. But it's making some headway in the streaming world.

Altitude Sports announced Thursday it has struck a deal to be carried on FuboTV, a sports-oriented virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) that competes in the pay-TV sector with traditional cable and satellite TV providers as well as other vMVPDs such as YouTube TV, Hulu, DirecTV Stream, Vidgo and Dish-owned Sling TV.

Figure 1: (Source: Zuma Press Inc./Alamy Stock Photo) (Source: Zuma Press Inc./Alamy Stock Photo)

Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not announced, but the agreement will make Altitude Sports available on FuboTV in ten states in the Rocky Mountain region. The deal comes together just ahead of the 2022-2023 National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons.

The FuboTV deal gives Altitude Sports, which also provides regional coverage of the Colorado Mammoth (National Lacrosse League) and Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer) another conduit into the regional market. Altitude does have deals in place with DirecTV (for satellite and streaming) and with Evoca, a relative newcomer that delivers pay-TV packages that combine access to digital over-the-air signals and over-the-top streaming services.

According to the announcement, Altitude Sports will be carried on FuboTV's "Pro Package," a tier that starts at $69.99 per month. Content in FuboTV's Pro Package is also included in two other tiers – Elite ($79 per month) and Ultimate ($99 per month).

FuboTV ended Q2 2022 with about 947,000 subscribers in North America, but doesn't break out how many currently get service in the Rocky Mountain region that now has access to Altitude Sports. FuboTV expects to have about 1.4 million subs worldwide by year-end 2022.

Altitude-Comcast impasse plays on

The FuboTV deal comes together as Altitude remains blacked out on Comcast and Dish, a situation that's persisted since their respective carriage deals expired in the fall of 2019.

Altitude filed an antitrust suit against Comcast in November 2019, alleging that the cable operator is demanding a dramatic cut in rates paid to Altitude and wanting to force the regional sports network (RSN) to a "sports tier" rather than via Comcast's widely distributed, more basic pay-TV tier. Altitude has also argued that Comcast wants to drive Altitude out of business and possibly seize the opportunity to take over the local sports TV market with its own RSN.

Comcast has countered that the suit is a move by Altitude to convert a "garden variety commercial disagreement into an antitrust suit" that seeks to force Comcast to carry the network in perpetuity on the RSN's preferred terms.

The Altitude-Comcast impasse is poised to extend to the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons after a recent round of mediation talks failed to yield a new deal.

According to The Denver Post, Altitude has proposed that Comcast match the pricing terms and distribution model the cable operator provides to AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain, a regional sports network that covers Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies.

But Comcast isn't taking the bait.

"Every cable network is different and has its own value proposition. We have been and remain willing to distribute Altitude on terms and conditions that make sense for our customers," Comcast told the Post. "Altitude's latest proposal would still require nearly every Comcast subscriber in the Denver area to pay a substantial fee for Altitude even though most Comcast customers have no interest in Altitude's content. Comcast is still hopeful to reach a solution that makes Altitude available to Comcast subscribers who want to watch it."

Altitude has previously asserted that building and supporting a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming version of the regional sports network would be a big money loser or force Altitude to charge exorbitant fees.

But pursuing the DTC model is starting to take hold in the regional sports network amid deepening losses in the US pay-TV market. Among notable example is Bally Sports. The Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned RSN has launched a DTC/streaming version of its services under the Bally Sports+ banner.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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