Does Verizon Really Have a Deal With ESPN for Pay TV?

24/7 Wall St.

TV sportsSometimes if something seems too good to be true, it is, in fact, too good to be true. That may be the case with the new pay-TV bundling program that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) announced last Friday and that the company had planned to begin selling this past weekend.

The problem is that Verizon apparently did not have an agreement in place with Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) to offer ESPN as an unbundled service to the wireless carrier’s FiOS customers. Here is a statement from ESPN cited at Re/code:

Media reports about Verizon’s new contemplated bundles describe packages that would not be authorized by our existing agreements. Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package.

The Verizon announcement implied that the company had finally persuaded content providers like Disney/ESPN to allow carriers like Verizon to offer customers…

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