CBS Joins FiOS Custom While ESPN Sues

NEW YORK—CBS Sports Network is joining Verizon’s customized FiOS TV lineup, the broadcaster said Monday just as reports emerged that ESPN is suing over the new channel packaging scheme.

On April 17, Verizon announced FiOS Custom TV—packs of a dozen or so channels bundled according to genre and starting at $54.99 on a one-year contract. Genres included lifestyle, entertainment, news and information, pop culture, kid fare, sports and “sports plus,” which includes the major league and regional sports nets as well as ESPN News. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN U are all offered in the “sports” pack, where CBS Sports Network will appear starting May 1. It will also continue to be available to subs taking Verizon’s Extreme HD pack.

Verizon said every FiOS custom pack includes a set of base channels “with select national networks, plus all local broadcast TV stations as well as at least two genre packs that match customers’ interests.”

ESPN filed suit against Verizon in New York State Supreme Court, according to Mike Farrell of Multichannel News. Farrell obtained a statement from ESPN inferring that Verizon was violating its carriage contract with the Disney-owned sports giant.

CBS Sports Network said it runs programming from CBS Sports and “televises nearly 600 live events and over 3,000 hours of live programming showcasing an array of college football and basketball, as well as professional sports.” It also carries “extensive shoulder programming” for CBS Sports coverage of Super Bowls, the Masters and the PGA Championship.

In a separate sports TV-related item, NBC Sports said its Live Extra service launched on Roku and was now available via TV everywhere-type authentication.

NBC Sports Live Extra is NBC Sports Group’s live streaming service that all live sports content aired by NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Triple Crown, the Olympics, “Sunday Night Football,” NFL pre-season and post-season coverage; NHL regular-season games, the PGA tour and more. It also carries digital-only content not televised by the three nets, including some Premier League matches and select motorsports content.