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Verizon and ESPN Reach Settlement in FiOS Pay-TV Lawsuit

Brochures for Verizon FiOS and a free netbook sit inside a Verizon Wireless store in New York, U.S.Brochures for Verizon FiOS and a free netbook sit inside a Verizon Wireless store in New York, U.S.
Brochures for Verizon FiOS and a free netbook sit inside a Verizon Wireless store in New York, U.S.Photograph by Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Verizon Communications said on Tuesday it has reached a settlement with ESPN in a lawsuit over the slimmed-down Verizon FiOS pay-TV offering that had left the sports channel out of the basic package.

The terms of the settlement will not be disclosed, the companies said in a statement. Walt Disney’s ESPN sued Verizon in April last year for breach of contract after the telecom company launched its Fios Custom TV plan, a small bundle of 36 channels plus numerous genre-specific add-ons.

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With Custom TV, Verizon created a stir with some programmers by moving some traditional pay TV base-tier channels into optional genre-specific add-on packs. The channels it moved included ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney and Comcast division NBC Universal’s USA.

In February, Verizon redesigned Custom TV to offer two packages with over 100 channels with one that included ESPN in the base tier. ESPN had said in response that is was encouraged by the change, and both companies put a hold on the legal dispute to try to settle the issue out of court.