Start of NFL season looms over DirecTV’s negotiations with networks

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

DirecTV customers in several major markets woke up this morning to find out that they can no longer watch CBS, a development that could have a major impact on the NFL when the season starts in seven weeks.

The CBS affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all currently dark for DirecTV customers. An on-screen message from DirecTV reads, “CBS has removed this channel from your lineup despite our request to keep it available to you. We share your frustration and regret any inconvenience.”

But while that message puts the blame squarely on CBS, many football fans will respond by canceling DirecTV if they think they’ll miss out on NFL and SEC games in the fall. As noted by, the start of the football season will put added pressure on both sides to come to a deal. Six years ago a similar fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable stoked fears that CBS would stay dark during football season, but a deal was reached at the last minute.

DirecTV viewers have also lost access to ABC, NBC and FOX in some markets, although those are mostly smaller markets than the markets that have lost their CBS affiliates. With DirecTV still having a monopoly over NFL Sunday Ticket, many of the country’s biggest football fans are DirecTV subscribers. But those fans may find that they can’t watch their local teams if nothing changes before the season starts.

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