“Between Avalanche and Nuggets games I tune into Altitude TV nearly every day through the winter months and I watch the Rockies on AT&T Sports Net in the summers. Neither of those channels are available from DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live, Sling, YouTube TV or any of the other streaming services I researched.”
A few weeks ago I woke in the morning to find my Comcast bill in the center of the dining room table with the total circled in Sharpie and the words “we need to talk” scrawled in the middle of the page. I thought, “uh oh”. My wife had clearly reached the breaking point.
Between cable internet, VOIP landline, a couple of premium channels and the basic sports package the cost of our Comcast “bundle” has crept its way north of $230 a month.
We’re not destitute. We can afford to pay the cable company’s exorbitant rates if we absolutely need to but, like most households, we have more critical expenses to consider; not to mention children whose college educations we need to save for along with the always looming worry of our eventual retirement needs. Excessive spending for entertainment just isn’t palatable.
So I set out assembling our family’s cord-cutting plan. Aside from budgeting for a digital antenna I included Netflix ($10), DirecTV Now “go Big” plan ($60), DirecTV Now HBO / Cinemax bundle ($6) and Century Link “Price for Life” internet ($55). This combination of services costs HALF what Comcast in charging and offers everything our family could possibly want – except the thing I watch the most – regional sports networks.
Between Avalanche and Nuggets games I tune into Altitude TV nearly every day through the winter months and I watch the Rockies on AT&T Sports Net in the summers. Neither of those channels are available from DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live, Sling, YouTube TV or any of the other streaming services I researched.
I have asked numerous people in the social media universe how I can disconnect and still watch the local teams and I have gotten virtually nowhere aside from the occasional link to sketchy web feeds that I don’t have any desire to risk exposing my equipment to. Another option I have had described to be is to sign up for NBA League pass, etcetera, and to spoof my IP address through a VPN (because the local games are blacked out) But I am not trying to break the law or deprive anybody of fair compensation. I am just trying to cut the cable cord like hundreds of thousands of other people already have. And I can do, too, but not without losing the programming that means the most to me.
That’s what the cable companies are counting on.
If big cable and satellite providers loosen their control over regional sports networks they will lose subscribers. I am living proof of that. Regardless I think that a wonderful opportunity exists for those willing to package their channels as ala carte add-ons to other streaming services.
I can only speak for myself, of course, but based on what I am currently paying for Comcast I would gladly offer $10 a month for Altitude alone – and I know that’s far more their paltry portion of my cable subscription. I would pay even more if Altitude were coupled with AT&T Sports Net so that I could get my Avalanche, Nuggets and Rockies broadcasts. Furthermore, the teams could package subscription TV service along with special mini season ticket packages.
Let’s say the Nuggets were to offer a 15 game package along with a season-long streaming subscription for $300. I would pay that in an instant. I’m going to attend roughly that many games in an average season anyway so why wouldn’t I leap at the chance to pre-buy those tickets and secure my home viewing access at the same time?
My wife is still toe-tapping. She’s waiting for me to resolve the cord-cutting issue and alleviate our household cable bill. I’m the only member of the family that watches sports regularly so I am the scapegoat when that enormous bill comes every month. It’s not a comfortable situation and it’s coming to a head. She’s not going to buy my excuses for much longer which means I am in imminent danger of no longer being able to watch my evening sports.
If I cancel Comcast and do not have a streaming option available for viewing Altitude and AT&T both networks will lose my money altogether. They’re slaves to their contracts with the cable outlets and I get that but the world is changing in terms of how households receive their TV signals and that is due to the fact that the people have found alternatives to the greedy corporations who have long taken their business for granted.
I hope that sooner rather than later the regional sports networks will realize that there is value in cutting out the middleman and delivering their content directly to viewers via live stream at a fair price that will allow them to migrate away from satellite and cable. In the meantime I and many, many other sports fans will continue to suffocate from the coaxial cables wrapped around our necks.