Thanks to Spectrum, we have a sense of what TV bundles might cost without expensive sports channels and excessive equipment rental fees. The cable company has been quietly testing a bundle of 25 streaming channels for $20 per month with some of its internet subscribers. Although Spectrum has not confirmed all the details, a promo email that surfaced on Reddit shows a bundle with all four broadcast networks, plus popular cable channels like AMC, TNT, and FX. Meanwhile, ESPN channels are relegated to a separate tier that costs $12 per month extra.
In a statement, Spectrum says it's been testing this plan with "a group of prequalified and current Spectrum Internet customers to see if this smaller package resonates with a certain segment of non-video customers." There's no word on whether it might become available to more customers in the future. But with Discovery and Viacom executives now talking openly about building their own sports-free bundles for as little as $10 per month, your ability to escape the sports tax seems inevitable. Disney-owned ESPN has long resisted being displaced from standard tiers, but as pay TV providers seek to lower costs, that may be inevitable.