ESPN is objecting to how Verizon is giving its FiOS TV customers more choice. In new plans that went into effect last week, Verizon made the ESPN and ESPN2 sports channels optional, but ESPN says its contracts with Verizon prohibit the channels from being in a separate sports package.
Although Verizon will still offer big bundles of channels, it has been facing pressure to reduce prices amid cheaper online options. To fight back, Verizon launched a FiOS plan that starts at $55 a month for a basic tier of 35 channels plus two themed channel packs. The basic channels that everyone gets include local broadcast stations, AMC, CNN and Food Network — but not ESPN or ESPN2.
There are currently seven add-on channel packs, focusing on such genres as sports, where ESPN and ESPN2 are, as well as children, pop culture and news. After picking two, customers can get additional channel packs for $10 each.
Verizon Communications has yet to respond to ESPN.