By Erik Gudris | @ATNTennis | Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Former 2021 US Open champion and current No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev is having a hard time being able to watch this year’s US Open on TV.
And he’s not alone.
Many tennis fans, 15 million to be exact, in the United States are currently unable to watch the last major event of the year on television due to an ongoing dispute being cable television giant Charter Communications (also known as Spectrum) and entertainment conglomerate Disney, which owns various channels including ESPN and ESPN2.
Medvedev, after his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur, revealed that he’s resorted to watch tennis on illegal or “pirate” sites since his hotel in New York is one of those impacted by the dispute.
“I was waiting for this question because I guess in a lot of hotels they have Spectrum. I cannot watch it on TV anymore,” Medvedev told the press. “I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal, but I have to find a way because I cannot watch it on TV. I got internet, probably this, how you call it, pirate websites, I watch tennis there. I have no other choice.”
Daniil Medvedev surges into the quarterfinals! pic.twitter.com/0NqT1XowO3
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 5, 2023
Over Labor Day weekend, Charter subscribers watching the US Open suddenly found their screens going blank and then followed up by a message from the cable company explaining the situation.
Essentially Charter and Disney are negotiating over the fees that Disney charges cable companies to show marquee channels like ESPN.
Charter said in a statement, “We offered Disney a fair deal, and yet they continue to demand an excessive increase. This impact to customers is consistent with past practices from Disney, no matter who you get your service from.”
ESPN, in its own statement, said “Although Charter claims that they value their customers, they declined Disney’s offer to extend negotiations which would have kept Disney-owned networks up for consumers in the middle of perennial programming events like the US Open and college football.” Neither side has reached an agreement and it’s likely the dispute will continue throughout the rest of the US Open.
The Financial Times reported that Disney has quietly given access to access to players, including Medvedev who request it, to The Walt Disney Company app allowing them to watch ESPN during the dispute.
Statement on Spectrum, Charter Dispute with Disney