ESPN sues Verizon in Manhattan for breach of contract

Contracts are important in nature for governing a number of business relationships that are implicated in our daily lives. Moreover, if a party to that contract believes that the terms of the signed agreement are not being met or upheld, they have rights and remedies afforded to them.

The sports television cable news network ESPN recently brought a breach of contract lawsuit against telecommunications company Verizon in Manhattan court. The lawsuit alleges that Verizon has breached its contract with ESPN, which requires that the sports network is included in all basic cable packages. The contract dispute concerns Verizon's new offering of the pay TV plan that offers targeted and slimmer channel packages to consumers. Consumer can select a sports, news or kids package, for example.

Traditionally, consumers pay for packages offering a large number of networks, commonly including ESPN. In response, Verizon maintains it is in compliance with existing agreements. Verizon argues that customers have spoken that they want choices and is providing that to the consumer.

ESPN argues it wishes to provide consumers with value but expects Verizon to act in accordance to the terms of the parties' contract. According to ESPN, it is seeking for Verizon to abide by the terms of the parties' contract currently in pace.

In addition to this claim, Twenty-First Century Fox and Comcast's NBC Universal recently also announced that Verizon's new offering of the pay TV plans also violates its contracts with the telecommunications company. However, at this time they have not currently filed any breach of contract lawsuits against the telecommunications company.

There can sometimes be a lot riding on a business contract and subsequent contract dispute for one or both of the parties to a contract. Because of the important role contracts play in business relationships, there may be a number of legal options available to help deal with concerns related to breach of contract and a contract dispute.

Source: New York Post, "ESPN slaps Verizon with breach-of-contract suit," April 27, 2014

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