Verizon and ESPN finally settle their skinny-bundle squabble

More than a year ago, ESPN sued Verizon for alleged breach of contract over the latter company's then-new skinny bundle packages that, according to ESPN, violated a contract between the two companies. Now, finally, the duo has announced a settlement that puts the matter to rest, but they didn't provide any details about what the settlement entails. Recent changes to Verizon's channel options, though, hint at what may have happened behind closed doors.

The entire matter revolved around a so-called skinny bundle that Verizon launched last year, one that was similar to how Dish Network's SlingTV works. With the Custom TV packages, FIOS subscribers could get a base channel package and then optionally add on other packs of channels, including a sports add-on.

Verizon argued this violated a contract because ESPN was split off into a separate bundle rather than being included in those base channels. The matter has been quietly rolling on since, and nothing much was noted until this past February.

Earlier this year, Verizon added a base package option that includes sports channels including, you guessed it, ESPN — an apparent way to sidestep the issue, or at least potentially placate Disney. Whether that had anything to do with the soon-to-follow settlement is unclear.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal