Aaron Gordon Blasts Comcast-Altitude Dispute, Denver Nuggets Blackout | Westword

Nuggets Star Aaron Gordon Sounds Off on Comcast-Altitude Dispute, Says It Hurts Players' All-Star Chances

Since 2019, Nuggets fans who have Comcast — Colorado's leading cable provider — have been unable to watch games due to a carriage dispute with Altitude TV.
Aaron Gordon let his frustration with the Comcast-Altitude be known in an X post.
Aaron Gordon let his frustration with the Comcast-Altitude be known in an X post. NBA.com
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Colorado sports fans aren't the only ones suffering through the seemingly never-ending carriage dispute between Comcast and Altitude TV, which has led to more than 90 percent of households in the Centennial State missing out on local Avs and Nuggets games since 2019.

Colorado athletes are concerned, too. Denver Nuggets star Aaron Gordon voiced his outrage with the blackout in an X post this past weekend, suggesting that the lack of television coverage might have led to Nuggets players, specifically point guard Jamal Murray, not making the NBA All-Star team this year and in years past.

"Bout dis...first we could start by playing our own games on TV in our local market," Gordon wrote on February 17 in response to a post about comments he made on the subject three days earlier to Nuggets reporters.

"I don't know why that is," Gordon said on February 14, responding to a question about why Denver has only one All-Star (via DNVR's Harrison Wind). "That's a mystery to me. Doesn't make any sense." Over the past ten years, Nikola Jokic has been the only Nuggets player to be selected by fans, media and current players as an NBA All-Star, despite the team having multiple big names and an NBA championship. Fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine All-Star starters and bench players, while the other 50 percent is split evenly between current players and media members.

Denver has consistently been one of the smaller TV markets for the NBA over the years, and currently ranks No. 18 in Nielsen's Top 100 television markets. For the 2021-2022 season, the Nuggets finished last in local household ratings and viewership, according to a Sports Illustrated report, which cited Nielsen Media Research. The team's ratings increased by 200 percent in 2022-2023 and are now up 139 percent for the 2023-2024 season, per the Sports Business Journal.

And still, Denver went another year with just one All-Star.

"If y'all think JM27 [Murray] not All-Star caliber you're tweekin," Gordon posted on X on February 17.

While the former Orlando Magic phenom has never been named an All-Star, he definitely knows a thing or two about All-Star Weekend — throwing down one of the most legendary NBA Slam Dunk Contest performances of all time in 2016 against Zach Levine.

"I probably could've got second in this years dunk contest lol," Gordon wrote in a separate post on February 17, poking fun at the fact that he came in second against Levine and second against Derrick Jones Jr. in 2020, despite many people thinking he won both contests. After all, Gordon has the most perfect scores in dunk-contest history.

While the Comcast-Altitude verbal jab from "Mr. Nugget" is one of the loudest we've heard so far from a player, it isn't the first time a Denver star has spoken up on the topic.

"We gotta find a way to get our games everywhere," wrote Murray in a May 2021 post.
Even Denver's former mayor, Michael Hancock, has had some choice words for Comcast and Altitude in X posts of his own.

"Searched everywhere fir the game! So unfair to fans, and the players that we can’t watch the @nuggets in game 3 of round one of @NBA playoffs!" he wrote on May 27, 2021. "Something has to give in this three year standoff. #Showthedamngame."
Gordon's time as a Nugget has been marred by the Comcast-Altitude controversy since he arrived in the Mile High City in 2021. By then, the blackout was two years old.

Comcast customers have been unable to watch Altitude TV since August 2019, when the cable company dropped it because of skyrocketing broadcast fees. According to court filings, 92 percent of cable customers in Colorado's 48 counties have Comcast. And Altitude, the television channel owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, holds the local media rights for both the Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche, which are owned by Stan Kroenke.

“As much as the fans are frustrated, no one is more frustrated than myself or my father in this matter,” Josh Kroenke, son of Stan Kroenke and Nuggets president and governor, said last October. “We’re trying to figure out a resolution, because we want to show the best teams in the leagues, and we have the Avs and the Nuggets.”

Altitude filed a lawsuit in 2019 against Comcast, saying it violated antitrust laws by trying to get rid of Altitude. The parties settled the case in May 2023, but nothing has happened to officially end the broadcast beef.

Comcast claims that carrying Altitude will cost too much for customers who aren't interested in watching the Avs or Nuggets. “We remain open to proposals from Altitude that would put consumers and fans first and allow us to make the games available on our platforms to those who want to watch them without raising rates for all of our customers," Comcast spokesperson Leslie Oliver tells Westword.

Asked about Gordon's X post and the status of the Altitude dispute, KSE declined to respond to Westword. But speaking to the Denver Gazette this week, KSE president of media ventures Matt Hutchings said, "Altitude Sports is working tirelessly, looking for a resolution in this carriage dispute. We also encourage fans to look at other means to watch their hometown teams on Altitude Sports, including DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, Charter (Spectrum TV) and Fubo TV, while we at Altitude Sports continue to explore additional viewing options."

Counters Oliver: "The ball is in [Altitude's] court."
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