Many unable to watch NFL amid DirecTV dispute

A dispute between DirecTV and Tegna, which owns several NBC and CBS affiliates, left many fans unable to watch Week 13 NFL games Sunday after it also impacted Saturday’s SEC Championship Game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide. The companies are in disagreement over the rate Tegna wants DirecTV to pay to carry its channels.

Tegna denied DirecTV permission to carry its 66 stations in 52 metro regions on Thursday, according to a DirecTV news release. The companies’ failure to reach an agreement to extend their carriage deal impacts 5 million DirecTV customers, per multiple reports.

“It’s disappointing, but certainly not surprising, that Tegna is just the latest to perpetuate what’s become the status quo for American broadcasters by using its territorial exclusivities and blackouts to extort ever-increasing rates for programming that remains free over-the-air,” DirecTV chief content officer Rob Thun said in a statement Thursday.

“Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Tegna,” Tegna said in a statement, per multiple reports. “We urge DirecTV to continue to negotiate with us until a deal is reached that restores our stations to their customers.”

This isn’t the first time cable channels have gone dark in 2023 and impacted sports fans: On Sept. 1, ESPN and other Disney-owned channels went dark for Charter Spectrum cable subscribers due to a carriage dispute. ESPN2, SEC Network, ACC Network and ESPNU were among the other sports channels affected. Hours before the season premiere of “Monday Night Football,” Disney reached an agreement with Charter that restored the channels to 14.7 million households.

Sunday’s slate of NFL games on CBS and NBC includes the Denver Broncos versus the Houston Texans and “Sunday Night Football” featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.

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(Photo: Federico Parra / AFP via Getty Images)

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