Countdown to Syracuse and Mississippi Super Bowl Blackout

40,000+ Fans May Not Get NFL’s Biggest Game
Bristlecone and Northwest Keep Verizon Fios and Cable ONE Customers in the Dark
ATVA Urges Restoration of Signal during Contract Negotiations

Washington, D.C. – With just five days left before one of the biggest live television events in the world, The American Television Alliance (ATVA) again asked Bristlecone and Northwest Broadcasting to restore their signals to Verizon Fios and Cable ONE consumers in New York and Mississippi so they can watch the Super Bowl and other network shows.   According to Syracuse.com, Fios is continuing to negotiate on behalf of consumers to reach a settlement to return Fox to its channel lineup.

ATVA also pointed to examples of other broadcasters maintaining signals during similar contract negotiations to illustrate the extreme tactics of Bristlecone and its owner, Brian Brady.  Brady is also on Layer3 TV’s content advisory board, spearheading the company’s partnership with top local broadcasters.

“This Bristlecone blackout has gone on for way too long, and now the Super Bowl is at risk.  For the sake of fans in Syracuse, we ask that the TV signal be restored while negotiations continue, which has been done in other similar situations.  If Mr. Brady won’t do that, it shows his true motivation is profits over people, and it’s a shame.  We hope elected officials and others who represent the people of Syracuse to will take a stand as well and ask that this signal be restored,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.

The station takedown represents a familiar pattern for Bristlecone: in 2015, the broadcaster blacked out Fox Syracuse for Fios customers for nearly five  days.  Bristlecone is a subsidiary of Northwest Broadcasting, which is currently blacking out  the ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox signals in two Mississippi communities, and its Fox and NBC affiliates in Idaho Falls and Lewiston, Idaho.  The Bristlecone/Northwest broadcasting corporation frequently uses blackouts as “deal leverage.”

TV Blackout Crisis: Blackouts are on a Blistering Record-Breaking Pace in 2017 As Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts affecting millions of Americans in 2017 are hitting a record-shattering pace, with 75 blackouts already in the month of January.   If the pace keeps up, TV blackouts in 2017 would completely dwarf the record number of 193 blackouts from 2015, when 12 million Americans were victimized.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to 725 broadcaster blackouts.

  • 75 blackouts to date in 2017
  • 104 blackouts in 2016
  • 193 blackouts in 2015
  • 94 blackouts in 2014
  • 119 blackouts in 2013
  • 90 blackouts in 2012
  • 42 blackouts in 2011
  • 8 blackouts in 2010

When blackouts finally end, consumers get their programming back, but at a higher cost:

  • SNL Kagan also projects that over time that 50% of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks rather than pay for local programming.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • Retrans fees have grown an astonishing 27,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 4 years.

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The American Television Alliance (ATVA) brings together an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies, and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk TV viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.
For more information about ATVA, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter @ATVAlliance.