Coco Gauff unable to watch US Open opponent as players hit by ongoing dispute

Coco Gauff and many US Open competitors have struggled to keep up with the latest of the competition, like viewers, due to the ongoing TV wars with ESPN and Spectrum in the United States. 

On Sunday, Gauff could not watch the Round of 16 battle in the women’s bracket between No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek and Jelena Ostapenko. Ostapenko pulled off the upset, taking down Swiatek 3-6, 6-3. 6-1 to set up a clash with Gauff.

Gauff put in a dominant performance to win their quarterfinal tie, dropping just two games and booking her place in her first US Open semi-final. But she admitted she had been unable to watch Ostapenko’s previous game because of the TV dispute. 

“I’m not gonna get into that, but we can’t watch ESPN at our hotel,” said Gauff about watching the match. “I saw the scoreline. I didn’t see the match.”

As a competition member, Gauff’s inability to watch highlights how the ongoing broadcast battle affects everyone, no matter their proximity to the court. Quarter-finalist Daniil Medvedev also spoke about the difficulties he has experienced watching the US Open, even resorting to piracy measures to keep up with the games.

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“In a lot of hotels, they have Spectrum, so I can not watch [the US Open] it on TV,” said Medvedev in a press conference. ” I do not know if it’s legal or illegal, but I have to find a way because I cannot watch it on TV. So I go on[the] internet, and [use] pirate websites or something, so I watch Tennis there have no other choice.”

The US Open has experienced a scattered period of blackout moments outside Swiatek and Ostapenko, most notably when Carlos Alcaraz took on South African player Lloyd Harris in the tournament’s second round. The match occurred at the coveted Arthur Ashe Stadium, further signifying its importance during the games.

A message flashed on viewers’ television with Spectrum as their cable provider, saying, “The Walt Disney Company has removed their programming from Spectrum, which creates hardship for our customers. We offered Disney a fair deal, yet they demand an excessive increase.”

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“They also want to limit our ability to provide greater customer choice in programming packages, forcing you to take and pay for channels you may not want. Spectrum is on your side, fighting to keep costs down while protecting and maximizing customer choice.”

“The rising cost of programming is the single most significant factor in higher cable TV prices, and we are fighting hard to hold the line on programming rates imposed on us by companies like Disney. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

“We understand how important it is to be able to access your programming content and have solutions for you.”

Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum, cut access to their Charter Spectrum cable package, which includes ESPN, ABC, FX, and more, all channels owned by Disney. Charter wants to pay for Disney’s linear television channels with access to ESPN’s streaming platform, where the network seemingly adds its best content.

According to Forbes, Spectrum Charter had planned to spend approximately £1.75million to include Disney channels in their service this year. However, instead of offering the US Open to Spectrum users, the streaming company has recommended that they subscribe to Hulu’s Live TV service, which Disney mainly owns. 

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