DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – A two-year dispute between Altitude Sports & Entertainment and providers Dish and Comcast is now boiling over, causing the team, coaches and even elected officials to vocalize their frustrations. Altitude, which produces Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games for television broadcast, has been blacked out on Comcast and Dish as the companies spar over money.
“It is garbage that they haven’t found a way to get the games on TV,” said Ryan Koenigsberg, a Denver Nuggets mega fan. “I think people are so over this whole dispute.”
Game 3 of the playoffs, featuring the Denver Nuggets versus Portland Trail Blazers, was blacked out for most fans in Colorado. Most playoff games are nationally televised. However, Thursday’s game was contractually given to Altitude. Because Altitude held exclusive broadcasting rights in Colorado, fans were unable to watch the game unless they subscribed to DirecTV.
Denver Nuggets injured star guard Jamal Murray took to Twitter writing, “We gotta (sic) find a way to get our games everywhere.”
We gotta find a way to get our games everywhere
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) May 28, 2021
The was the first time a player from the organization spoke critically of the situation publicly.
The Denver Nuggets are owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the same company that owns Altitude.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock took to Twitter as well. In an angry post directed toward all three companies, Hancock demanded that a resolution be found soon.
“Searched everywhere fir (sic) the game. So unfair to fans and the players that we can’t watch,” Hancock posted. “Something has to give in this three year standoff.”
Searched everywhere fir the game! So unfair to fans, and the players that we can’t watch the @nuggets in game 3 of round one of @NBA playoffs! Something has to give in this three year standoff. #Showthedamngame
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) May 28, 2021
Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone was asked about the issues following the Nuggets’ victory in Portland.
“I feel bad he wasn’t able to watch it,” Malone said. “I think our game (Saturday) is on the Oxygen Network, so hopefully guys can watch that when it airs.
Malone was joking about the teams being unable to have their games aired on common channels due to the dispute. Saturday’s game is scheduled to air on TNT at 2pm MDT.
Koenigberg, who serves as Vice President of Digital Content for DNVR, said his company’s bar was lively on Thursday as fans were unable to watch games from home.
“All sides are losing here. Nobody is winning,” Koenigsberg said.
Though the lack of televised games may benefit sales for his company, Koenigsberg said DNVR is always in support of what profits fans. Koenigsberg said he hoped the games would return to Comcast and Dish soon.
“I don’t think anyone gives a damn who is at fault, they just want to see the game,” Koenigsberg said. “The Avs and Nuggets are missing out on a ton of fans they would be developing.”
CBS4 reached out to Comcast and Altitude Sports for comment on the story.
In a written statement issued to reporters, Altitude said the following:
“We understand and share in the frustration of Nuggets fans who were unable to watch last night’s amazing Nuggets victory over the Portland Trail Blazers,” said Matt Hutchings, COO of KSE. “Comcast continues to hold Nuggets fans hostage, by not allowing them to follow their hometown team. With the start of the NBA Playoffs, we were hopeful that all Nuggets playoff games would be carried by either TNT or ESPN. That would have guaranteed full distribution for side-by-side broadcasts with Altitude within our local market. Unfortunately, last night’s Nuggets game was scheduled on NBATV. Under NBA broadcasting guidelines, those games are not made available in the local markets, except to the local regional sports network. We know that has left our fans frustrated, but we would ask that those same fans let Comcast hear how much they want to be able to follow their favorite team. To this point, Comcast has chosen to ignore both Altitude and Nuggets fans.”
Comcast issued this statement to CBS4:
“The ball is in Altitude’s court to figure out a way to broadcast the games to all the basketball fans in Denver. Unfortunately, Comcast isn’t in a position to make that call. Since September 2019, Comcast has not had a contract with Altitude that permits us to air the Altitude Sports Network. Since that time, instead of focusing energy on negotiating a mutually agreeable deal allowing Comcast customers to continue watching the Nuggets’ games, Altitude chose to file a meritless federal lawsuit, which is still ongoing – despite the judge dismissing most of the claims.”