Verizon TV Users Gain Access to Tennis Channel as Four-Month Blackout Ends

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) pay-TV subscribers regained access to the Tennis Channel two days into the Australian Open tournament, after the two sides reached an agreement that ended a four-month blackout.

The multiyear deal gives Verizon FiOS customers in Texas, Florida, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and upstate New York immediate access to the channel, the companies said today in a statement. Other FiOS markets will get the Tennis Channel by tomorrow, in time for the third round of men’s and women’s singles matches at the year’s first grand slam event.

Verizon FiOS and Cablevision Systems Corp. customers lost access to the Tennis Channel Sept. 4 after the pay-TV providers decided they wouldn’t pay a fee increase to carry the channel or move the station to their digital basic service packages. Cablevision hasn’t reached an agreement with the Tennis Channel, according to Jim Maiella, a spokesman for the cable carrier.

The new FiOS agreement makes the Tennis Channel available to customers that subscribe to the FiOS TV Ultimate HD package as well as premium sports packages. New York-based Verizon will “more widely roll out” the Tennis Channel next year, according to the statement.

The Tennis Channel has live coverage of all four major tennis tournaments -- the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The closely held Tennis Channel is based in Santa Monica, California.

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