CBS Sports Network, apparently one of the few sports channels that doesn’t object to being placed on a tier, has agreed to a deal with Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV for inclusion in its somewhat controversial Custom TV service.
CBS Sports Network, which doesn’t have the same carriage requirements as larger sports channels like ESPN and Fox Sports 1, which have objected to the service, will be available on Custom TV’s Sports Channel Pack beginning on May 1.
FiOS launched Custom TV on April 17, touting the service as offering consumers more choice in the channels they do and don’t want to watch. For $54.99 per month, customers get access to 35 base channels – including AMC, CNN, HGTV and Food Network – and can select two of seven genre packages including: Kids, Pop Culture, Lifestyle, Entertainment, News & Info, Sports and Sports Plus.
The deal comes the same day that ESPN filed suit in state Supreme Court in New York against Verizon, claiming Custom TV breached its carriage agreement. While no details were released to the public yet, typically channels like ESPN are required to be carried on the most widely distributed package and are generally prohibited from being placed on a tier. Networks like CBS Sports Network, usually don’t have such requirements. For example, in the New York area CBS Sports Network is available on the Sports Entertainment Package for Comcast customers, the Sports & Entertainment Pak for Cablevision customers and the Preferred TV package for Time Warner Cable customers.
The 24-hour sports network televises nearly 600 live events and over 3,000 hours of live programming, including college football and basketball and professional sports.
“While consumer choice is at the heart of our Custom TV product, when customers make their choices we want them to have the best experience and the most robust package possible,” Verizon vice president, content acquisition and strategy Terry Denson said in a statement. “The addition of CBS Sports Network does just that, with a whole suite of programming that will satisfy a sports-lover’s craving for games, features and analysis.”
In addition to being available on Custom TV, CBS Sports Network will continue to be available to subscribers in Verizon’s FiOS Extreme HD package.
“We are pleased to make CBS Sports Network a part of the new FiOS Custom TV lineup,” said CBS president of television networks distribution Ray Hopkins in a statement. “We are confident that our expanding lineup of premier live programming will be a favorite among Verizon’s sports fans and that this new option will help continue grow our distribution.”