Sports | November 27, 2021 11:48 am

Local Fans of One of the NBA’s Best Teams Can’t Watch Them on Television

Tough times for Denver fans

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets
P.J. Dozier of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Ball Arena on November 14, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.
Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

There was once a time when it was relatively easy to find local sports on television. But with changes to the broadcast industry — and the rise of streaming alternatives — that situation has become far more complicated. But now, rights issues between cable channels and sports broadcasters have become far more common, to the frustration of many fans who would prefer to avoid resorting to pirated methods of watching their favorite teams on television.

But while intermittent blips in service have become frequent (see also: I Think You Should Leave‘s “Corncob TV” sketch), that pales next to what some local fans of the Denver Nuggets have had to deal with since 2019. Over the last few seasons, the Nuggets have been one of the Western Conference’s best teams; trouble is, local fans have a dwindling array of viewing options.

A new article by Mike Vorkunov at The Athletic outlines the issues at hand. Altitude is the cable channel that broadcasts Nuggets games; like the Nuggets, it’s owned by Stan Kroenke — also the owner of the Avalanche, Arsenal and the Los Angeles Rams. In 2019, The Athletic reports, Comcast stopped carrying Altitude — leading to Altitude filing a suit against Comcast not long afterwards. Given that Comcast is the dominant cable provider in the Denver metropolitan area, it’s not hard to see why this has caused headaches for many fans.

The article also quotes NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who struck a note of concern that this situation could repeat itself in other local markets. Given that Comcast and MSG Networks are also feuding at present, that sense of concern may well be warranted.