ESPN is giving players competing in the U.S. Open tennis tournament access to live-streaming video of the matches, responding to complaints from players who found themselves unable to watch their competition due to the ongoing Disney-Charter Spectrum blackout.
A source confirmed to The Music news that the company has provided access to a number of players, as well as some on-air talent and others covering the U.S. Open who have been unable to watch matches due to the dispute, thanks to Charter being the dominant cable operator in New York City.
A number of players had publicly complained about the issue, including American star Coco Gauff and the Russian Daniil Medvedev, who complained about the issue in a press conference Monday night.
“I guess in a lot of hotels, they have Spectrum, so I cannot watch it on TV anymore,” Medvedev said during a press conference at the tournament Monday night, adding that he ended up watching matches on “pirate websites.”
Even ESPN’s own tennis analyst John McEnroe was reportedly unable to watch matches while he was sidelined with COVID-19.
In many ways, the U.S. Open tennis tournament was a key part of the dispute between The Walt Disney Co. and Charter Spectrum. It was in the middle of a match involving Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz that the blackout began, and the two major sporting events since it began were the tournament and some college football games. The first Monday Night Football NFL game is set for Sept. 11, with the Buffalo Bills set to face the New York Jets, two teams of importance to the New York market.
The two sides were still far apart over Labor Day weekend, though talks have continued. The Bills-Jets matchup is likely to be the next key piece of the puzzle. If a deal is going to be struck soon, it would likely be connected to that matchup, but if they can’t come to terms, it could be some time.