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Contract Battle Between Verizon And Disney End Up With Blackouts

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A showdown between Verizon and Disney could leave consumers on the losing end. Verizon customers might lose some of their favorite channels, including ESPN.

It's the clash of the cable titans, cable provider Verizon and Disney Media Networks, the parent company of some of the most popular cable channels.

The current agreement between Verizon and Disney runs out at the ends of the year, and the two sides are having a hard time reaching a new deal.

Disney wants Verizon to pay more for its channels and Verizon is refusing.

In a statement issued today, Verizon said, "Disney is currently proposing that Verizon pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming, despite the fact that many of its key networks are experiencing declining viewership. In addition to the proposed rate increase, Disney is also demanding we include, and pay for, another regional sports channel, the ACC Network."

The ACC Network will launch next year and is very important to the University of Pittsburgh. The new television network is scheduled to broadcast many Pitt Panther games from a variety of athletic teams, including baseball, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.

"The ACC Network and our linear channel will join ESPN family of networks and will annually feature 450 live events including 40 football games, more than 150 men and women's basketball games and more than 250 other events," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford.

Pitt even built a state of the art broadcast facility in the Petersen Sports Complex to support the launch of the ACC Network.

If Verizon and Disney cannot reach a deal, all of Disney's channels could be blacked out on Verizon when the contract runs out at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.

No ESPN means no college football national championship game or the NFL wild-card game.

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