In an era devoid of live sports, some consumers have been asking themselves a simple question: Why should I pay for live sports I’m currently not receiving? Unfortunately, a look at the deals between various cable companies, sports leagues, and other entities reveals a not-so-simple reality.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, most sports-focused networks have shifted to covering alternatives, like simulated games, classic re-broadcasts, or games of Horse in various athletes’ homes. But despite the content shift, customers are still paying for live sports they currently can’t watch and so some have looked into receiving refunds from their cable companies.
The New York Times recently looked into the issue and found that the even if cable companies are on board with refunding customers for services they’re not receiving, there are still lots of obstacles that need to be cleared.
“We don’t want to charge our customers for content they aren’t watching and receiving,” Erin McPherson, Verizon’s head of consumer content and partnerships, told the Times. “Whether that is going to be in the form of a refund or discontinued billing, we are looking at all of those options right now.”
However, McPherson added they’d need broadcasters, regional sports networks, and leagues to all sign off on attempts to reimburse or credit customers.
Meanwhile, Comcast told Ars Technica that the company is waiting on the NBA, NHL and MLB to finalize plans for currently suspended seasons before it moves forward on any possible rebate plans. That could mean a rebate would be less likely if a league eventually made up all or most of its games at a later date, versus outright canceling a season.
Other regions, the Times notes, may have it easier. Sky Sports in England, for example, says customers can pause their subscription payments while the sports they love are shut down. Sports networks in other countries have also opted to suspend payments to sports leagues.
The lack of sports has many questioning their current subscriptions, and we’ve reported in recent days about a survey that suggested one-third of cable subscribers would consider canceling their plan if the NFL’s upcoming season is postponed. Meanwhile, some analyst predictions suggest Comcast could lose 1.67 million TV subscribers this year.
For now, the road to refunds and rebates for sports-starved cable customers looks long and complicated. But we’ll continue to track developments throughout the industry and keep you updated. In the meantime, is the lack of sports causing you to rethink your current plans and subscriptions? Comment down below and let us know.
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