John Eckman is a big fan of the Denver Nuggets and has watched the team grow from a struggling franchise to a title contender with the help of MVP Nikola Jokic. However, his ability to watch the team has been severely impacted by the four-year power struggle between Comcast and Altitude Sports, the network that broadcasts the Nuggets games locally in Colorado.
Last year, Eckman paid extra to subscribe to an emerging pay-TV service based in Idaho that included Altitude Sports, but the service was abruptly shut down, prompting him to explore other options. He tried using a VPN to bypass the NBA League Pass blackout, but ultimately gave up, unable to follow the team closely during the regular season.
The conflict between Comcast and Altitude has also had a direct impact on the Nuggets’ dismal TV ratings, despite their success on the court. At least half of Denver-area pay-TV households do not have access to Altitude’s nugget broadcasts, leading to frustration among fans.
RSN (Regional Sports Networks) has long been a contentious issue between cable and satellite providers and networks, with distributors reluctant to pay high fees. However, this issue is becoming increasingly problematic as cable and satellite providers become more cost-conscious and subscribers have more options for entertainment.
Altitude’s ownership by the Kroenke family, who also own the Nuggets and Avalanche, has further complicated the issue. They have encouraged fans to switch providers, but many are reluctant to do so for various reasons.
Despite the TV issues, the Nuggets have reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, and Denver fans are more receptive to the team than ever. However, the ongoing conflict between Comcast and Altitude has caused frustration and potentially hampered the team’s ability to grow their fan base.