S&P Global Predicts Big Potential Auction Payday

A dozen TV station groups alone could reap more than $12 billion from the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates.

That would be if the FCC cleared 120 MHz of spectrum from broadcasters, which is toward the high end of its estimates.

Univision has the biggest possible payday at $2.47 billion based on 23 stations offered up. At that 120 MHz level, Comcast (NBCU) is next at $2.21 billion, followed by Fox at $2.13 billion and CBS at $1.86 billion.

The FCC is not revealing what stations are participating, but some have signaled their own interest and others are presumed to be interested given their number of duopoly opportunities to sell spectrum and carry the second station on a multicast channel of the first. Station owners who give up spectrum and share with another station get just as much money for their spectrum as those who get out of the business.

Stations had to declare their participation by March 29, including what options they are willing to exercise. The auction is expected to start in mid-to-late May.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.