News-Press & Gazette says it has refused DIRECTV’s request for a temporary extension in their carriage pact so the satcaster can show this Sunday’s NFL conference championship games.
The News-Press & Gazette channels have been off DIRECTV since January 12 when the two companies could not reach a new carriage agreement. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, has said News-Press & Gazette is seeking excessive carriage fees, a charge denied by the broadcaster.
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At its web site, News-Press & Gazette says DIRECTV on Wednesday of this week requested temporary rights to air Sunday’s games. The Green Bay Packers play the Atlanta Falcons at 3 p.m. on Fox while the Pittsburgh Steelers play the New England Patriots on CBS at 6:40 p.m. ET.
Viewer anger over the blackout rose last weekend with the airing of the second round of the NFL playoffs. In fact, actor Rob Lowe, a former DIRECTV spokesman, even criticized his former employer on Twitter.
But News-Press says DIRECTV’s request for temporary rights to air the two conference championship games is just a diversion tactic.
“We will not be granting temporary retransmission rights in order for their subscribers to have access to the AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday. Rather than spend time drafting requests for temporary grants of retransmission rights and issuing press releases, we hope AT&T and their multi billion dollar team of negotiators and public relations executives would focus on renewing a long-term carriage agreement,” News-Press & Gazette says.
News-Press & Gazette adds that it’s not optimistic the two companies will reach a long-term deal before Sunday’s NFL playoff games, or perhaps even before the Super Bowl which airs on Fox on February 5.
The TV Answer Man has asked AT&T for a response to the News-Press statement and will report back here if we get one.
The stations affected in this dispute are located in such mid-sized markets as Palm Springs, California; Bend, Oregon, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colorado; El Paso, Texas; Santa Barbara, California; Columbia, Missouri and Yuma, Arizona. To see a complete list of the stations that could be affected, click here.
— Phillip Swann