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Disney-Verizon Blackout Avoided as New Carriage Deal Is Reached

ESPN and ABC viewers who subscribe to Verizon’s FiOS service would have been among those impacted

The Walt Disney Company and Verizon have reached a “broad-based distribution agreement” over programming fees, avoiding a blackout of ESPN and ABC-TV on subscribers of Verizon’s FiOS service, the companies said in a joint statement Sunday.

“Verizon and The Walt Disney Company have reached a broad-based distribution agreement. Details will be released in the coming days,” the companies said.

The new carriage agreement comes a day before the expiration of Disney Media Networks and FiOS’ current contract. The companies had until 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 31 to reach an agreement before Verizon would stop carrying Disney-owned channels.

Disney began running messages on its networks aimed at its 4.5 million subscribers to FiOS, warning its customers Wednesday of a possible shutdown unless a deal was negotiated. The ad said that the Rose Bowl, NFL playoff games, and other sporting events would have been among the events affected by a blackout, along with ESPN’s highest-rated live telecasts of the college football semi-finals.