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Local TV stations in Boston, New York talking to NFL about contractual issues

Local TV stations in Boston, New York talking to NFL about contractual issues

Local television stations in the Boston and New York area were discussing contractual issues with the National Football League on Thursday, a consequence of the NFL's standoff with cable TV providers over the league's upstart NFL Network channel.
"We are having private and confidential conversations with the NFL and are very hopeful that this unfortunate situation can be worked out to our satisfaction, in light of the fact we do have a valid contract for exclusive broadcast rights to the Patriots vs. Giants game in the Boston market," said Bill Fine, the president and general manager of ABC network affiliate WCVB.
WCVB and Manchester, New Hampshire, station WMUR, which are owned by the same company, and New York station WWOR had won bidding processes for the right to simulcast games involving local teams that were to be shown exclusively on the NFL Network. All games on the NFL Network and the ESPN cable channel are also shown on terrestial TV in the clubs' home markets.
The issue has come about as a consequence of the NFL trying to pressure cable television providers to carry the four-year-old NFL Network, which is broadcasting eight games this season, as part of their basic package of channels they sell to customers.
The cable providers have balked, instead offering to include the channel in premier tier packages. In its campaign to pressure the cable operators, the NFL has run advertisements urging fans to call their cable operators.
With Saturday's game becoming high interest and originally scheduled to only be shown on the NFL Network, the league has been under increasing calls to show the game more widely.
The Patriots would become the first team in NFL history to go 16-0 in the regular season if they beat the Giants on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced the matchup would also be aired on the CBS and NBC networks. The game would not be prohibited from those networks' affiliate stations in the Boston and New York areas.
"We inquired about that, but CBS and NBC said it didn't work for them; they needed to clear the game nationally or it didn't work," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Aiello said he expected that the game would still air on three local channels plus the NFL Network in the Boston and New York areas.


Updated : 2021-03-01 00:42 GMT+08:00