As feared, millions of US sports fans are to lose out on following their favorite teams thanks to failed efforts to agree a new or extended contract between Tribune Broadcasting and cable TV firm Spectrum. Stations in 24 markets across the country are now no longer available to Spectrum subscribers via the company’s cable systems.
The contract between Tribune Broadcasting and Spectrum expired at 5 pm on January 2. Approximately six million viewers have lost access to, among other services, sports and entertainment programming provided by the company’s 33 television stations via Spectrum.
In addition to local news, such programming as the National Football League playoffs and NCAA basketball will be lost. “We’re extremely disappointed that we do not have an agreement on the renewal of our contract with Spectrum,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations. “The NFL playoffs are in jeopardy—beginning this weekend with critical games in some key markets like Indianapolis and Seattle. We don’t want Spectrum subscribers to miss these games.”
He continued: “We’ve offered Spectrum fair market rates for our top-rated local news, live sports and high-quality entertainment programming, and similarly fair rates for our cable network, WGN America. Spectrum has refused our offer and failed to negotiate in a meaningful fashion.”
The company, which also includes Covers Media Group, a source of online sports betting information, has established websites for each of its affected television stations and for WGN America where Spectrum customers can obtain more information about loss of services.