DirecTV’s dispute with Tegna leaves fans unable to watch the SEC Championship, and could impact the NFL

A dispute between DirecTV and Tegna, which owns several NBC and CBS affiliates, left many fans unable to watch Saturday’s SEC Championship game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide. There is disagreement between the companies over the price Tegna wants DirecTV to pay for streaming its channels.

Tegna refused to allow DirecTV to broadcast its 66 stations in 52 metro areas on Thursday, according to a DirecTV press release. The companies’ failure to reach an agreement to extend their carriage deal affects 5 million DirecTV customers, according to multiple reports.

“It is disappointing, but certainly not surprising, that Tegna is just the latest company to perpetuate the status quo for American broadcast stations by using regional exclusivity and blackouts to extort ever-increasing rates for programming that remains free over the air.” Rob Thune, DirecTV’s chief content officer, said in a statement Thursday.

“Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Tegna,” Tegna said in a statement, according to multiple reports. “We urge DirecTV to continue negotiating with us until an agreement is reached that returns our stations to their customers.”

This isn’t the first time cable channels have disappeared in 2023 and affected sports fans: On September 1, ESPN and other Disney-owned channels went dark for Charter Spectrum cable subscribers due to a carriage dispute. ESPN2, SEC Network, ACC Network and ESPNU were among the other sports channels affected. Hours before the season premiere of “Monday Night Football,” Disney reached a deal with Charter that restored the channels to 14.7 million households.

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The issue between DirecTV and Tegna could impact fans watching Sunday NFL games on CBS and NBC. That includes the Week 13 headline game on CBS — the Denver Broncos versus the Houston Texans — and “Sunday Night Football” featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.

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(Photo: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images)

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