NFL Divisional Playoff Round Blacked Out for Football Fans, Local Bars and Business Owners

Stations Down in Five States, Eight Cities, including Multiple CBS, FOX and NBC Stations Serving the Same Communities, on Eve of Second Round of NFL Playoffs

 Washington, D.C. – The American Television Alliance today demanded that News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting end its deliberate blackout of DIRECTV customers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon and NPG’s home state of Missouri prior to the NFL Divisional Playoffs that kickoff this weekend.  Hundreds of thousands of NFL football fans, along with thousands more local sports bars, restaurants and other small business owners, will likely miss out on pivotal matchups between the Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (Fox); Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (Fox); Houston Texans at New England Patriots (CBS); and Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (NBC).   News-Press & Gazette has even blacked out local residents living in and around the broadcaster’s St. Joseph MO headquarters.

In addition to hurting NFL fans, this intentional blackout undoubtedly causes a significant negative economic impact on approximately 2,500 bars and restaurants within the affected areas that rely on marquee sporting events to attract their customers.

“We saw this coming… following a year in which broadcasters were being investigated by the FCC for egregious behavior, blackouts have returned with a vengeance,” said Trent Duffy, ATVA spokesman.  “It might be a New Year, but it’s the same old story: broadcasters use the anticipation and excitement of big events like the NFL Playoffs to squeeze more money from consumers.  This demonstrates what the American Television Alliance has maintained since its founding – existing rules do not protect the viewing public from broadcaster blackouts and that Congress and government regulators should act.”

The following markets with NFL playoff games scheduled for this weekend are currently blacked out by News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting or threatening to go dark prior to kickoff:

 

Bend, OR KFXO FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Bend, OR KTVZ NBC Sunday 12:05 p.m. Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Bend, OR KFXO FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
Columbia-Jefferson City, MO KQFX FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Columbia-Jefferson City, MO KQFX FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
Idaho Falls, ID KXPI FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Idaho Falls, ID KIDK CBS Saturday 7:15 p.m. Houston at New England
Idaho Falls, ID KXPI FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
Monterey-Salinas, CA KION CBS Saturday 7:15 p.m. Houston at New England
Palm Springs, CA KDFX FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Palm Springs, CA KESQ CBS Saturday 7:15 p.m. Houston at New England
Palm Springs, CA KDFX FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, CA KKFX FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, CA KCOY CBS Saturday 7:15 p.m. Houston at New England
Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, CA KKFX FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
St. Joseph, MO KNPN FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
St. Joseph, MO KNPN FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas
Yuma, AZ-El Centro, CA KECY FOX Saturday 3:35 p.m. Seattle at Atlanta
Yuma, AZ-El Centro, CA KECY FOX Sunday 3:40 p.m. Green Bay at Dallas

TV Blackout Crisis Continues as Broadcasters Rake In More Money from Viewers

TV blackouts hit a record in 2015, affecting more than 12 million Americans.  Since 2010, millions of Americans have seen dark screens instead of watching their favorite channels due to more than 600 broadcaster blackouts.  Blackouts have soared in the past five years.  ATVA began keeping track of broadcaster blackouts in 2010.  Since that time there have been:

  • 61 blackouts 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 over 50%of affiliates’ retrans payments will go to the networks.
  • SNL Kagan data shows that retrans fees are the fastest rising part of programming costs
  • According to an ATVA analysis of publicly available industry data and SNL Kagan data, fees have grown an astonishing 22,400% [no, that’s not a typo] since 2005 and more troubling, have seen 40% annual increases over the last 3 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.