ESPN Blackout Avoided as Disney and Cable Giant Altice USA Reach a Deal

Additional Disney-owned channels remain available to 3.1 million Altice Optimum subscribers in the New York area

Disney Altice

Disney and cable provider Altice USA’s Optimum have reached a deal, according to a joint statement released on Sunday afternoon.

“We have reached an agreement in principle and have extended the deadline accordingly to try and finalize the terms,” the statement reads.

Disney started running ads a week ago threatening to pull its programming from Altice’s Optimum cable subscribers — which amounts to 3.1 million in the New York area — if a new deal was not reached by Sept. 30. The two sides extended the deadline to 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 1, to compensate for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which ended at sundown Saturday.

An Altice USA spokeswoman sent a statement to TheWrap Friday, saying that their company “has never had a disruption of service for our family of networks and there is no reason that should change now.” And they made good on that promise.

The spokeswoman went on to call ESPN the “most expensive basic cable channel in history,” adding Altice wanted to keep the programming while it continued to negotiate.

ESPN, which is the most expensive cable channel by far — costing providers more than $7 per subscriber, according to SNL Kagan — has been the highest profile casualty of the shift toward cheaper, internet TV products. The once-mighty sports network has dropped from a peak of more than 100 million subscribers in 2011 to fewer than 88 million today.