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Iger’s ESPN Game of Chicken

We are in the “everything on the table” era, after all, when Bob Iger is publicly floating an ABC sale and seeking a strategic partner for ESPN.
We are in the “everything on the table” era, after all, when Bob Iger is publicly floating an ABC sale and seeking a strategic partner for ESPN. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
September 6, 2023

Last Thursday, as I went to turn on ESPN2 to catch my nightly fix of U.S. Open tennis, I received a text from a Puck colleague bemoaning the fact that his plans to watch college football on ESPN had been foiled by a new carriage dispute between Disney and Charter Spectrum, the cable TV operator that serves as the primary provider for both the Los Angeles and New York City media markets. 

As I stood there registering his grievance, I looked up to find that we were brothers in arms: my Alcaraz vs. Lloyd Harris match, like his Florida-Utah game, was hidden behind a statement in which Charter admonished Disney for creating “hardship” for consumers. I quickly found my workaround via YouTube TV—I’d like to think my profession justifies these dual expenses, though I’m not at all sure how—and left my colleague to wallow (“I just gave up,” he told me). This week, he also signed up for YouTube TV and, as of this writing, is still trying to cancel his Spectrum subscription. I’ll no doubt find myself on that odyssey soon enough.