Pact, with public details coming later, averts a New Year's Day blackout

The Walt Disney Co. and Verizon said they have reached a new distribution agreement that will stave off a potential blackout of networks including ESPN on Fios systems.

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

The agreement would presumably include retransmission consent for ABC-owned stations in New York and Philadelphia. It would also cover Disney-owned cable networks such as Freeform and Disney Channel.

The agreement would mean Fios subscribers will get to see college bowl games and an NFL wild-card game on ESPN, in addition to news and weather on the ABC stations.

Many distribution agreements expire at the end of the year. Tribune, Nexstar and Tegna stations in some markets have agreements coming up with carriers including Charter (which might lose Tribune stations on Jan. 1), Cox and Mediacom.

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