Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP
Daniil Medvedev can’t watch the US Open in his hotel room.
Tennis champion Daniil Medvedev is competing at the US Open, but there’s a problem: He can’t watch any of the matches on his TV.
The No. 3-ranked player and winner of the 2021 US Open lamented at a post-match press conference Monday that the ongoing dispute between Spectrum and The Walt Disney Company has forced him to search for alternatives way to watch tennis, since his hotel no longer carries ESPN.
“I cannot watch it on TV anymore,” Medvedev said about the tennis tournament. “I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal, but I have to find a way because I cannot watch it on TV. I got internet, probably this, how you call it, pirate websites, so I watch tennis there … I have no other choice.”
Last week, Disney-owned channels like ESPN were pulled from 15 million Spectrum cable subscribers in prime time, angering fans trying to watch tennis and college football. Spectrum’s parent company Charter said Disney “has insisted on a traditional long-term deal with higher rates and limited packaging flexibility” and that Disney declined its renewal proposal.
The cable provider contends that the proposal from the media conglomerate would amount to a significant cost increase for subscribers, who would also be saddled with channels they might not want to watch. That sort of arrangement between channel owners and cable providers has been the norm for decades, but the rise of the streaming model has brought new pressures for both.
Disney said in a statement that it “has successful deals in place with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country, and the rates and terms we are seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace. We’re committed to reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution with Charter and we urge them to work with us to minimize the disruption to their customers.”
On Monday, Disney launched a marketing campaign saying that this weekend has been a “frustrating one for millions of Spectrum cable subscribers” and enticed people to sign up for its “Hulu + Live TV” bundle that gives them access to Disney’s cable channels and ESPN+, where many matches are streaming live.
Ironically enough, NY1 — a local news channel available on Spectrum — broadcast its morning show from the US Open on Monday. However, its anchors didn’t acknowledge the carriage dispute or mention the irony that Spectrum subscribers can’t watch tennis on its own cable service.
The US Open, held in Queens, New York, continues until Sunday.