Patriot Games: Altice, WFSB Retrans Dispute Continues

Altice USA's request that CBS-affiliate WFSB in Connecticut unblock programming to its customers in the state for the National Football League’s AFC Championship game on Jan. 22, pitting the local favorite New England Patriots vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been stuffed.

WFSB, which broadcasts to a small portion of Altice USA customers in Litchfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut, went dark on Jan. 13 after the parties could not reach a retransmission consent agreement. Altice USA said the bulk of its Connecticut customers can see the game via the New York CBS affiliate (WCBS). The cable operator has also offered customers a free trial of CBS All Access, the over-the-top offering from the broadcaster, to watch the playoffs and other network content online. 

The fact that WFSB has not unblocked the channel shouldn’t be surprising. Going dark is usually a station’s only leverage in retrans negotiations and compelling event programming – like NFL playoff games – is usually what gets the parties to reach a compromise.

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