Sunbeam's Miami Station To Let DirecTV Carry NFC Title Game Amid Retrans Fight

1/19/2012 6:51 PM Eastern

Sunbeam Television said it will allow DirecTV to broadcast the NFL's NFC title matchup between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, even as the two parties remain deadlocked over retransmission-consent fees.

Sunbeam pulled Miami's WSVN, the local Fox affiliate, along with Boston's WHDH (NBC) and WLVI (CW) stations from DirecTV at midnight on Friday, Jan. 13. DirecTV says the station owner is asking for a 300% hike in fees, while Sunbeam has said it is seeking only what other pay-TV providers pay.

"WSVN-TV is still negotiating with DirecTV, but we care about our viewers, and we want them to be able to watch this game, which will determine who goes to the Super Bowl," Robert Leider, executive vice president and general manager of WSVN-TV, said in a statement.

49ers-GiantsDirecTV's Miami subs -- which include bar owners -- will be able tune in to Fox's coverage of the NFC championship game starting with the pregame show at 6 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 22. WSVN also will provide the post-game show, American Idol and a late edition of Miami's 7 News that night.

"We're pleased that Sunbeam is doing the right thing for our customers and NFL fans in Miami," DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said. "We look forward to getting a deal done quickly and on reasonable terms."

Meanwhile, DirecTV's Boston-area DirecTV subs could be facing a blackout of NBC's Super Bowl XLVI telecast on Feb. 5, in which the Patriots could be playing for their fourth championship title, if the dispute is not resolved by then.

According to Leider, DirecTV's claim that Sunbeam is asking for a 300% increase is "totally misleading."

"A few years ago DirecTV was paying us nothing. Now we are asking for only a few cents a day," he said. "Fox receives half of that, and we need to keep them satisfied to maintain our affiliate relationship. Meanwhile cable channels with far less viewers receive far more compensation from DirecTV."

Leider added, "DirecTV is a multibillion-dollar company that takes advantage of a small company like ours. DirecTV is offering us far less than what they are paying other TV stations."


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