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Amid Feud With Spectrum, Disney Gives Free ESPN to Sports Stars

tennis stars ESPN
Credit: Carine06, Flickr

The ongoing standoff between Disney and cable giant Charter Communications has taken a wild turn, leaving some of the world’s top sports players caught in a pickle. As the dispute escalates, it is not just the millions of cable subscribers who are frustrated. Athletes participating in the US Open tennis tournament found themselves in a challenging situation due to the sudden absence of ESPN and ABC channels from Charter’s Spectrum service.


Credit: ESPN

Tennis Stars’ ESPN Frustrations

The situation reached a boiling point when several players voiced their grievances at being unable to watch their opponents’ matches while competing in New York. Among them were renowned tennis stars like Daniil Medvedev and the young sensation Coco Gauff. Their complaints echo angry Spectrum customers, showing just how frustrating these corporate disputes can become for those impacted.

Medvedev, the winner of the 2021 tournament, expressed his frustration during a press conference, stating, “I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal, but I have to find a way because I cannot watch [the matches] on TV.” He admits to having to use pirating websites to view the games. In a move to resolve the issue, ESPN and Disney stepped in quietly but effectively.

Daniil Medvedev

Credit: Dackelprincess, Flickr

Disney Garners Positive Press

Disney began offering secure logins to The Walt Disney Company app to select US Open players, including Medvedev. This strategic gesture allowed these athletes to access the tournament coverage they desperately sought. Other people, including John McEnroe, a former player and prominent tennis expert, received a complimentary ESPN+ subscription to ensure he could also stay connected to the Grand Slam action.

Spectrum Disney TV bundle

Disney’s actions show a desire to fuel a narrative that it is not the bad guy in this situation. In alleviating the difficulties faced by sports players caught up in the cable dispute, it obviously hopes to garner some good press by ensuring these players could continue participating in the tournament without feeling disconnected. While the battle between Disney and Charter Communications continues, it is clear that the entertainment giant recognized the athletes’ unique challenges and found a good opportunity to help them while also benefiting the company.

The cable dispute between Disney and Charter Communications has also affected millions of cable subscribers. While these US Open tennis players got preferential treatment, all Spectrum customers still lack programming. Disney has tried to push them into subscribing to its Hulu+ Live TV service, but many angry people see through this shameless plug.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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