Meredith Broadcasting's WFSB Hartford, Conn., says it is ready to "clear its schedule" to air the New England Patriots -- New York Giants game. The CBS affiliate thinks it is within its rights to telecast the Dec. 29 game and has contacted Rep. Joe Courtney to let him know.
Courtney and other members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Dec. 19, concerned that the NFL was not interested in a one-time broadcast airing of the game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. The game is scheduled to be on the NFL Network, which has limited carriage on the top two cable operators--in a sports tier on Comcast and no carriage on Time Warner. It will also be carried on a Boston and New York broadcast station with NFL rights to the home team, WCVB in the case of Boston.
Many New England legislators have pushed The NFL, Comcast and Time Warner to find some way of making the game widely avilable. The NFL has said it is willing to let Time Warner carry the game on basic this once if they submit to arbitration on the issue of carrying it on basic the rest of the time. Time Warner has said no thanks, but offered to provide a freeview of the game on its digital tier and suggested the NFL put in on a broadcast network for the widest possible play.
Courtney wrote Goodell Friday to let the commissioner know of the station's willingness to carry the game. Virtually any station would clear its schedule for the game, of course, which promises to be a ratings hit. But WFSB says it has the right to carry it as well.
But according to a letter from Courtney to Goodell Friday, WFSB executive DAvid Ward says that he has talked with the NFL and told them he things WFSB meets the definition of "home team television station" either way you look at it and should have access to the game.
Ward says that WFSB's coverage area penetrates "well within" 75 miles of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and well withing 75 miles of Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., which Ward says is within the NFL's traditional definition of a home team TV station.
WFSB carries the broadcast Patriots games, but the NFL Network sold the broadcast rights to its games to a single station in each home market, in this case Hearst-Argyle ABC affiliate WCVB. The game will also air on WCVB’s co-owned WMUR.
WFSB carries the broadcast Patriots games, but the NFL Network sold the broadcast rights to its games to a single station in each home market, in this case Hearst-Argyle ABC affiliate WCVB, which will also make air the game on co-owned WMUR.
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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.