Frustrated Jets fans hope Spectrum and Disney can reach the end zone in their cable dispute before the team’s much-anticipated season opener gets blacked out Monday night.
Spectrum users throughout the five boroughs and beyond abruptly lost access to ESPN, ABC and other Disney-owned channels last Thursday when the corporate spat over carriage fees came to a head.
The disagreement already blacked out college football’s opening weekend and numerous U.S. Open tennis matches. Up next would be the Jets debut of four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which is set to take place Monday against the Bills at 8:15 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ABC.
“It’s really disappointing that fans who have been looking forward to this game all summer are getting caught in the middle of this dispute,” Chris Santarelli, 34, of the Upper East Side told the Daily News. “Hoping clearer heads will prevail to be able to watch the first Jets game with my 3-week-old son.”
Santarelli, a lifelong Jets fan who grew up attending the team’s training camps at Hofstra University on Long Island, said he was exploring other ways to watch the game in preparation for a blackout.
Other fans echoed his sentiment ahead of an NFL season that the Jets, who last made the playoffs in 2010, enter with Super Bowl aspirations.
“So now that the Jets have a hopeful team we’re in danger of not seeing their opening night game because of the dispute between Disney and Spectrum?” Michael Leiman wrote on X, previously known as Twitter. “Couldn’t they’ve had this fight when the Jets sucked & were never on Monday night?”
Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum, claims it offered Disney a “fair deal” but contends the House of Mouse continues “to demand an excessive increase.” Disney, meanwhile, says it is “hopeful Charter is ready to have more conversations that will restore access.”
In the meantime, Disney encouraged customers to consider Hulu + Live TV, a streaming service starting at $69.99 per month that includes ESPN and ABC.
Attending the game at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium wouldn’t be cheap, either, as no tickets on the resell website StubHub were listed below $200, including fees, as of Tuesday.
Disney and Charter engaged in negotiations all weekend but had gotten “no closer” to an agreement, the Sports Business Journal reported Monday.
Spectrum serves 14.7 million subscribers, which include bars and restaurants that profit from airing primetime sporting events. One Park Slope eatery was showing the NHL Network in its bar area at lunchtime Tuesday because ESPN was blacked out. Another had on MLB Network, YES Network and SNY.
Nearby, Brewers Row said it could accommodate Jets fans in the same way it did a group of LSU alumni who couldn’t watch their team’s NCAA opener at their homes Sunday night due to the Spectrum situation.
“We plan on leveraging the entire thing, actually,” owner Fred Avila told The News. “We’re gonna blast out on social media that we’re using YouTube TV, so we’re gonna have all these games that are being blacked out via Spectrum.”