Fox and Altice, the company behind the Optimum brand, are heading into the final week of their existing contract and face a potential carriage dispute that would cause a disruption in sports programming beginning Oct. 1, when their agreement runs out. Optimum customers could lose a variety of channels, including Ch. 5 and FS1, whose offerings include NFL games, college football and Major League Baseball playoff games. The Fox umbrella also includes FX, National Geographic and other channels.
Fox this year will carry the National League playoffs and World Series while Turner has the American League. The contract negotiations do not involve the YES Network, which provides pregame and postgame Yankees coverage for the playoffs, even though Fox owns YES.
Fox regularly carries Giants regular-season games and occasionally Jets games. The Giants face the Panthers on Fox on Oct. 7. The Eagles and Giants have a Thursday night game on Oct. 11.
“We are currently negotiating with 21st Century Fox and are disappointed that they have started threatening to black out certain channels in an effort to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from us and our customers,” said an Altice USA spokesperson. “Programming costs are the greatest contributor to rising cable costs, and we urge Fox to stop its threats and instead focus on negotiating an agreement that is fair for consumers.”
Said a Fox spokesperson, “We are disappointed that despite our repeated efforts to reach a deal over the past several months, Altice refused to engage in any substantive discussion until just last week and is now asking for preferential treatment that’s totally out of step with the marketplace.
”We feel it’s our responsibility to inform Altice’s customers that as a result, they may lose access to FOX, FX, FS1, National Geographic and more, including NFL games on FOX, MLB post-season action on FOX and FS1, Empire, 9-1-1, American Horror Story and Mayans M.C, as well as their local news from FOX and some of their local Fox Sports networks.”