An indefinite interruption of Tampa Bay Rays coverage looms if Spectrum does not reach an agreement with FOX Sports by 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time tonight, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The dispute between both sides impacts over 12 Major League Baseball teams. The Rays are scheduled to have 150 games air on FOX Sports Sun this season, but if a resolution in the Spectrum/FOX Sports saga isn’t reached, viewers will be affected.
"We are aware that Spectrum [formerly known as Brighthouse] and FOX Sports are in discussions to continue their agreement to broadcast Rays Baseball,” the Rays said in a statement on Thursday. “We have urged both parties to reach a speedy conclusion to these discussions so that fans subscribing to Spectrum can continue to enjoy Rays baseball games and other Rays programming.”
It was announced last May that Charter completed a $71 billion acquisition of Bright House and Time Warner Cable, making it the Tampa Bay area's largest Internet and cable television provider, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
When Tampa Bay customers faced the switch last November, Charter made it clear that a smooth transition was a top priority.
"Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible for our customers," Joe Durkin, Charter's director of communications for Florida, said in a statement. "If you're a legacy Bright House customer, you don't have to do anything — you will remain at the price and the package that you have."
While still under the Bright House regime, the company faced several outages and disputes. From 2003-2009, Bright House refused to carry FOX Sports Florida, which left numerous Orlando Magic fans without a way to watch the team.
As a part of Time Warner Cable in 2009, Bright House faced an issue with FOX over carrier fees and needed an extension past New Year’s Day in 2010 to agree on an extension, per ABC News.
The present issue with Charter — the No. 2 cable company in the country — and FOX Sports is once again over carriage fees, according to Deadline.
FOX Sports Group put out a statement on Thursday, a day before a resolution must be reached, expressing its disappointment with Spectrum:
Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore. We are disappointed that despite our best efforts over many months to resolve the situation without disruption, Charter’s 16 million subscribers may lose access to a wide variety of programming, including telecasts of the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds and many other MLB, NBA and NHL teams on Fox Regional Sports Networks, FX’s hit dramas The Americans and Feud, and National Geographic.