Losing Altitude: Only The Fans Lose In Continued Broadcasting Dispute

Posted By Ian St. Clair on January 14, 2021 - Last Updated on March 17, 2021

Editor’s Note: The following article represents the views of the author.

The Colorado Avalanche haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 2001.

It feels like it’s been that long since fans of the Avalanche and Denver Nuggets could watch their teams on Comcast or DISH Network.

But due to a petty contract dispute that has dragged on for well over a year, the broadcast home to both Colorado teams is still not available to most local viewers.

There’s no point rehashing the reasons why Kroenke Entertainment, Comcast and DISH refuse to put the customers and fans first.

The bottom line: Altitude TV is still not on most Colorado TVs.

It’s beyond evident that neither side gives a damn about the customers and fans.

There are no winners in this situation. The only losers are the sports fans, and they continue to get the shaft.

In the process, it’s having a direct effect on the Colorado sports betting market.

This disagreement is depriving fans of the chance to experience live betting, and keeping the new industry from reaching its full potential.

It’s also depriving the state of much-needed tax revenue in a time it needs it most. As a reminder: A 10% sports betting tax is collected throughout the year and that money goes to the state’s water conservation plan.

Not every fan will partake in betting on the Avalanche or Nuggets. And despite the contract dispute, fans can still place a multitude of bets.

But there is a significant segment who aren’t getting the full betting experience by placing live wagers while watching a game on their TV. Whether it’s the experienced punter or the fan who may test the waters for the first time.

Keep in mind, Comcast is the biggest TV provider in the state.

That’s significant. Imagine live betting while listening to the radio. That sounds like quite the experiment and not exactly ideal.

They can’t reach a freaking agreement during a pandemic. How tone-deaf are they?

This week, Colorado opened its season against the rival St. Louis Blues. The Avs are the betting favorite to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.

So, if you have Comcast or DISH, you couldn’t watch the game. Since the Avalanche laid an egg and lost 4-1, perhaps it’s better most people in Colorado couldn’t watch.

Yes, the game was on NBCSports. But since NBCSports didn’t make it one of the seven “exclusive” games, it was blacked out for fans who have Comcast and DISH. That’s because it was on Altitude and there are local broadcasting rights that were established by the NHL.

If you want to watch and bet on the Nuggets — unless they’re on ESPN or TNT — it’s too bad, so sad.

Enough is enough.

As of 2020, Stan Kroenke is the 59th-richest person in America. According to Forbes, the owner of the Avs and Nuggets has a net worth of $8.3 billion.

As of 2020, the net worth for Comcast is estimated at $205.58 billion.

As of January 13, 2021, DISH Network is worth $17.38 billion.

Each side has its arguments and is pointing the finger at the other. Each side wants more money and not to lose any more of it.

Meanwhile, as the Denver Channel pointed out, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) reported on Thursday that 14,123 Coloradans filed regular initial unemployment claims during the week ending on Jan. 9.

Denver’s ABC affiliate added that since mid-March, an estimated total of 756,534 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed.

Forgive me if I have a tough time feeling pity for owners and companies worth billions that can’t reach an agreement because of what it means for their bottom line, when this is happening in Colorado.

Figure it out, even if it means putting a Band-Aid on this self-inflicted wound to postpone for the greater cure.

Enough with the childish squabbling. We are over a year into this ridiculousness and all sides are to blame. As a result, none look good.

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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