Altitude is available in 10 states, so Colorado is not the only area impacted.
Altitude Sports, Colorado Avalanche broadcast partners, is blacked out across 10 states as hockey season nears. Currently, both sides appear to be at a stalemate.
Altitude has posted their position online and the three providers have issued statements. Comcast also included a statement that viewers watched an average of fewer than one game a week so it made sense to bump them up to a premium package charging the customer more to get the regional sports.
Comcast to DPostSports re. Altitude negotiations: "Altitude has demanded significant annual price increases for the same content for years. First, basic cable was originally intended to include local channels as well as a host of basic programming.
The argument is disingenuous. Comcast wants to charge more for Altitude because they think fans are devoted enough to pay more for the programming. Both the Avalanche and the Nuggets look poised to be good for years to come , the Mammoth have made the postseason 15 out of 17 years and the Rapids are primed for a turnaround.
Their concern also rests with the lack of availability of their product.
The Kroenke teams thrive with a wide distribution model. Winning teams tend to generate more fans which in turn will generate more revenue for the teams. So, stalemate. Much of the discussion has stopped there.
But much more is going on. This is not just about Kroenke sports. This showdown is symptomatic of a much broader problem.
The Colorado Avalanche may have a hot start but will anyone be able to watch them on TV? Cable and satellite providers are putting the squeeze on regional sports programming throughout the country. Dish recently blacked out Fox Regional Sports over contract disagreements.
It would be a challenge to find a bigger sports market than New York so the lack of viewership seems like a lame excuse. Comcast now owns seven RSNs. All three — Comcast, DirecTV and Dish — have recently utilized their power as providers to acquire RSNs and blackout programming to force deep discounts.
The provider giants make most of their money by broadcasting their own shows. By forcing the RSNs to sell to them, they can control their own costs and make a hefty profit.
You can help by reaching out to the networks to urge them to not block Altitude TV. This puts Altitude fans in an interesting position. With more consumers cutting the cord, there are other options for watching sports.
Some of them are more legal than others. But forcing customers to pursue other methods for watching their favorite local sports may not bode well for service providers in the long run. Suppose someone wants to watch the Avalanche game and finds a way to watch it without relying on one of the big providers.
These providers are almost forcing the consumers to look elsewhere and cut the cord. Kroenke finally has competitive teams to showcase and no medium for delivering the content. Even if they are rich. But that money could put them in a unique position to push back.
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One option the Kroenkes could try is buying a local station, broadcast their games on it and force the providers to carry the channel.
Local government gets to mandate which channels MUST be included on a basic plan. If the Kroenkes have the political clout and the desire to invest, this could be a viable alternative.
Another possibility could be running Altitude on local airwaves in the regions they serve. Antennas may not be sexy but people who want the programming can get one inexpensively and Altitude cuts out the middle man.
Of course, then they are in the business of broadcasting, which involves garnering more money from advertising, something they may want to avoid. It may not be cost-effective but neither is continuing to be blacked out.
What About the Fans? One wild card option remains for the sports fan.
The NHL, or a combination of all of sports entities impacted, could step in to mediate a resolution. Regardless of which side people support, one thing is clear. The fans are the ones getting hurt the most and neither side seems interested in addressing that.
Perhaps in another life.