Disney Pulls Ads For Verizon’s ESPN-Less Cable Package

Earlier this week, Verizon FiOS began offering customers a new way to choose which cable channels they pay for, by allowing them to pay for a small base package of core channels and then pay to add on niche-targeted bundles of 10-17 channels each. This didn’t sit well with ESPN, the most expensive channel on just about everyone’s pay-TV lineup, and ESPN’s corporate overlords at Disney are reportedly refusing to air ads for FiOS’s new offering.

As we mentioned earlier this week, ESPN maintains that its contract with Verizon prohibits the pay-TV provider from putting ESPN and ESPN on a premium sports tier. Instead, the channels must be included in the general basic cable package.

ESPN is by far the most expensive single piece of any basic cable bill, accounting for for upwards of $6/month. That’s several times more than the cost of most other cable offerings. Even some avid sports fans believe that it belongs on a separate tier.

An informal survey Consumerist readers found that more than 83% of them believe ESPN should no longer be part of the basic cable package.

Regardless, Disney maintains that Verizon is violating their agreement and has, according to Bloomberg, pulled FiOS ads from ESPN, ABC and A&E.

A rep for Verizon tells Consumerist that it looks like the FiOS Custom TV ads will also not run on Disney-owned WABC-TV in New York City, nor on at least one radio station owned by the company.

Verizon is also facing opposition from Fox and NBC, who are also not pleased with several of their basic cable offerings being parceled out into add-on bundles.

For its part, Verizon has maintained that Custom TV is not violating any of these contracts and that they are only trying to give customers more choices.

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