No one likes a baseball rainout, particularly in a World Series. Except perhaps DIRECTV’s subscribers in the 12 markets where their local Fox affiliate is blacked out due to the satcaster’s carriage dispute with Mission Broadcasting.
DIRECTV lost 26 Mission-owned local stations on October 21 when the two sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement. The fee fight has already cost DIRECTV viewers in the 12 markets the first two games of the championship series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. (Fox has the exclusive TV rights to the World Series.) And last night, it looked like they would miss game three until Major League Baseball postponed it due to heavy rains.
The contest was rescheduled for tonight, which gave DIRECTV and Mission another 24 hours to negotiate a settlement to avoid a blackout of game three, and the rest of Mission’s local and national programming in the future.
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However, there’s no indication that the two sides are close to an agreement. In fact, the rhetoric seems to be expressing more indignation if anything. DIRECTV last week issued a statement saying that Mission was violating ‘the public trust’ by removing its signals this close to an important mid-term congressional election. And Broadcasting & Cable reports that Mission has prepared a letter for its station general managers to send to various politicians that says DIRECTV is trying to “bully” a ‘small’ broadcaster.
“AT&T and private-equity firm TPG, believe they can bully a small local broadcaster and ignore the realities of the current marketplace, economic environment, and the entry of cash-flush tech firms such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix who have dramatically driven up the cost of sports and other on-air programming,” the letter states, according to B&C. (DIRECTV is co-owned by AT&T and TPG.)
The letter adds: “DIRECTV/AT&T/TPG became intractable, and (the stations) were removed from their lineup creating a local news vacuum for our community, impacting thousands of viewers as we approach the midterm elections, high profile sporting events and the winter storm season.”
However, if calm sometimes comes before the storm, angry words sometimes precede carriage settlements, and DIRECTV subscribers are certainly hoping that’s the case with this dispute.
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I don’t care about the reasons for the blackout. I want to watch the WS, and I pay far too much $$ for bumbly idiots to deny me.
I can’t believe that a small broadcasting company who is basically money hungry will not supply the broadcast of my local fox affiliate on Directv. Thank God I have a good over the air antenna or I couldn’t watch any fox programs. Not only the world series but nfl and wwe . Come on mission do the right thing .I pay way too mu h for my tv service as it is and I am thinking a out dropping Directv for a streaming service instead. I have been with Directv so long it was actually Primestar efore it became Directv. NOT PLEASED AT ALL !!