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Report: Altitude/Comcast lawsuit-stalemate could last well into NEXT season

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Altitude

In case beleaguered Avalanche and Nuggets fans who have Comcast as their primary cable provider didn’t already know, there has been no progress toward getting the games back on again. In fact, it could be a very long time before we even get a judge or jury’s opinion that could settle the nasty stalemate between the two parties that has existed in late August.

According to a recent report on the legal/media website lightreading.com, it could be until May of 2021 – not this coming May, but next May – before this thing even gets its first pretrial conference. As reporter Jeff Baumgartner wrote:

“Per the current scheduling order, the fact discovery cut-off will be Oct. 21, 2020, with expert discovery cut-off set for Jan. 19, 2021. If it goes so far, a pretrial conference in this case would be held the morning of May 3, 2021. Altitude told the court that it expects a jury trial to require 12 trial days, plus more days for jury selection, while Comcast sees it requiring no more than five trial days.”

Good lord. I mean, we all know the legal process is slow, but…

Also from the report:

“Altitude TV likewise told the court it intended to depose more than a dozen people, including Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable; Greg Rigdon, president of content acquisition at Comcast; David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks; and yet-to-be identified people from regional sports networks in which Comcast has an interest as well as people with AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain who have knowledge of carriage terms and fees with Comcast.

Comcast’s shorter preliminary list of people it intends to depose includes Stanley Kroenke, owner of Altitude Sports & Entertainment; Timothy Boell, VP of distribution and affiliate marketing, Outdoor Channel, which has ties to Altitude’s parent company; and Jim Martin, former president and CEO of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

A case under the pay-TV microscope
The case is being watched closely because it highlights a significant rift between a regional sports network and the nation’s largest pay-TV distributor at a time in which video service service providers are facing a growing cord-cutting trend and looking to move higher-priced sports channels from their primary bundles to separate tiers tailored for sports fans. But putting Altitude on a less popular sports tier would reduce the RSN’s wide market distribution and jeopardize its historic business model.

Altitude TV has already argued that an OTT-delivered, direct-to-consumer model is not financially viable and that it has been unable so far to negotiate carriage deals with various streaming services, including Hulu, Amazon and YouTube TV.

The current scheduling order filed by the court is not necessarily set in stone. Comcast’s motion to stay discovery pending the court decision on the operator’s motion to dismiss the Altitude suit could stretch it out even further.

Altitude TV filed an opposition to Comcast’s motion on January 23, arguing that Comcast has failed to demonstrate good cause for a discovery stay that would likely delay the proceedings.

“And as long as Altitude remains unavailable to Comcast’s subscribers in the Denver DMA, Altitude and consumers are being harmed, and both would be prejudiced by a delay associated with a stay of discovery,” Altitude TV told the court.

Could we really see Stan Kroenke take the stand in this thing? Somehow, I still doubt it will get that far. Most cases settle before they go to trial.

But I never would have thought this thing would drag on for as long as it has, either.

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Steve J
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Steve J

Comcast sucks and everyone that has them knows they’re charges on everything is horrible. They just announced more price increases to plans along with hardware fees. They lost over 700,000 tv subscribers last year but gained in internet subscribers. The ceo just said in the last 2 weeks that while not giving up on tv they’re starting to turn to streaming. Because of this they’re fighting broadcasts to drop and bully into lower prices claiming they want to save us customers money while at the same time never reducing costs. Costs continue to go up. And to people That say… Read more »

motar
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motar

I feel like it’s time to organize some kind of action. The lack of a TV deal should be the #1 Avalanche story every day. We the fans are truly getting sodomized.

Bruce Wilkie
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Bruce Wilkie

Why doesn’t Stan buy the time on Channel 20 and show the Avs & Nuggets games there? Altitude could sell the ads.
KSE would gain scores of happy fans and they could tell Comcast to shove it.B

Mike Fisk
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Mike Fisk

Thanks AD for the update. Without your article there would be little info coming out. I guess we can abandon all hope of watching an Av’s game on the Altitude Network this season.

GWood
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GWood

The consumption model is changing rapidly. I don’t like Comcast either, but we don’t know what their near and long term projections look like. Stan has deep pockets, obviously, and this is just one of his businesses, but if Altitude is no longer a viable business model, then it has to go. I just hope they keep the talented crew together if that is the ultimate direction. Totally sucks that we (the fans) are caught in the middle. Stan…buddy, next time, make sure your guys are anticipating changes before they bite us in the ass. And don’t drag this thing… Read more »

Marcus Rose
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Marcus Rose

OMG! I cannot, for the life of me, why people stay with Comcast? Just get DirecTV! Unless you live in apartment that doesn’t have a wall facing the southeast sky….there is no reason to not make the jump. Lets face it….if enough of you Comcast Subs jump ship, they will get a deal done…..but by staying with such a rag company like Comcast….you are only making their decision to NOT negotiate that much easier! Besides…DirecTV ( which I have been with since 1994 ) is far superior to ANY other TV service out there….streaming included! I challenge anyone to find… Read more »

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