The war is finally over.
No, not the war in Ukraine, but the war between Disney and Charter Communications that has left throngs of Spectrum customers across Guilford County – and across the country – without the football games, tennis matches and other sporting events they wanted to see, especially at a time when a very exciting college football season had just begun.
Several national news agencies reported on Monday, Sept. 11, that the two companies had reached a deal, and that, just hours before the first Monday Night Football game of the year is broadcast, ESPN and other Disney channels will be back on Spectrum.
Tens of thousands of Spectrum cable customers in Guilford County were irate beyond belief when, on Thursday, Aug. 31, at about 8 p.m., ESPN and its affiliate channels – along with all Disney channels – went dark and Spectrum began broadcasting a repeating message on those channels stating that viewers should complain to Disney if they were unhappy.
Some families who were Spectrum customers were doubly upset because many parents – angry about the loss of sports – had to deal with children who were upset about the loss of their favorite programing.
The two companies Disney and Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum, have had disputes in the past, but never ones that have lasted 11 days at a critical juncture in the sports year.
Apparently, by the morning of Sept. 11, there had been enough bloodshed on both sides to get the two warring companies to reach an agreement.
Some media reports stated that a continuation of the battle could have led to bankruptcy for ESPN, while the damage done to Spectrum must be enormous.
Many customers in Guilford County who never would have moved from traditional cable, signed up for live streaming services like Hulu and Fubu over the past 11 days in order to see the games, and found out that those streaming services worked just fine and gave them what they needed television-wise for less than half the cost of Spectrum.
There are no hard numbers yet on how many cable subscribers Spectrum lost during the debacle. However, some customers who did call to cancel said that hold times could be several hours – which seems to indicate that the number of cord cutters will be very large indeed.