ESPN has filed a lawsuit against Verizon for “breach of contract” and "unfairly depriving (ESPN) of the benefit of its bargain" and to assess damages of $500,000 or more.
All this comes as Verizon FiOS announced efforts to allow consumers to reconfigure their pay TV programming packages under its new Custom TV plan.
Verizon is giving customers the option to create custom TV bundles starting at $54.99 for a base package of 35 channels, plus two additional genre-based channel packs. Consumers can choose among sports, kids, lifestyle, news and info, pop culture and entertainment packs.
They can also buy additional packages of programming for $10 a month. ESPN and its networks are in the sports package.
ESPN said in a statement: "ESPN is at the forefront of embracing innovative ways to deliver high-quality content and value to consumers on multiple platforms, but that must be done in compliance with our agreements. We simply ask that Verizon abide by the terms of our contracts.”
In response, Verizon has said: "Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want. We are well within our rights under our agreements to offer customers these choices."
On the same day, Verizon announced that CBS Sports Network has joined the sports channel package on the FiOS Custom TV lineup beginning on May 1.