DIRECTV and Verizon subscribers in 13 markets are likely to miss tonight’s game one of the 2022 World Series due to separate carriage disputes with local Fox affiliates. And if agreements are not reached soon, they could lose the entire Series.
Verizon subscribers have been without 13 Nexstar-owned stations since October 15 when the two sides could not reach a new carriage agreement. The stations include the Fox affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia. (Fox is broadcasting the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, starting tonight. The local Fox affiliate will show the games.)
DIRECTV subscribers have been without 26 Mission Broadcasting-owned stations since October 21 due to a carriage row between the companies. (Mission stations are managed by Nexstar.) The stations include the Fox affiliates in 12 markets including Providence, Rhode Island, Little Rock, Arkansas, Albany, New York, Shreveport, Louisiana, Davenport, Iowa, Amarillo, Texas, Odessa/Midland, Texas, Monroe, Louisiana, Wichita Falls, Texas, Erie, Pennsylvania, Billings, Montana, and Grand Junction, Colorado. (The blackout also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-verse.)
As of this morning, there’s no indication that a settlement is imminent in either fee fight. The stations continue to post alerts at their web sites that say their viewers are missing programming due to carriage disputes. DIRECTV this week suggested that Mission and White Knight Broadcasting return their stations so viewers could watch local election coverage while negotiations continued, but that offer has been ignored, at least in public. Verizon is encouraging its subscribers to either get an antenna or sample a live streaming service that carries Fox, such as YouTube TV or Hulu Live.
Update: DIRECTV this afternoon issued a statement blasting Mission, White Knight (and Nexstar) for refusing to return the stations while negotiations continued.
“White Knight Broadcasting and Mission Broadcasting, both actively managed by Nexstar Media Group, have flat-out refused our requests to return their 25 local stations to our customers in 23 media markets through the results of the Nov. 8 mid-term elections,” DIRECTV said. “At the same time, our offer to return the stations and be compensated at a new future higher rate remains completely open, both station groups continue to use their Nexstar-managed news services to propagate the outright lie and misinformation that DIRECTV has ‘forced off’ or otherwise ‘removed’ the same stations. Each broadcaster involved has made clear that abandoning journalistic integrity and betraying the public trust are not only acceptable, but readily available, in their shameless pursuit of financial fortunes.”
The two blackouts have triggered angry comments on social media sites from viewers who have already missed a weekend (or two) of NFL and college football games. But the loss of the World Series will likely rachet up the frustration.
The TV Answer Man will monitor these disputes and report back here if anything significant changes.
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— Phillip Swann