Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:18 am
Edited on: January 14, 2012 11:42 am

Sunbeam/DirecTV dispute costs Miami Fox affiliate

By Will Brinson

Miami-area subscribers to DirecTV wanting to watch all the NFL action might want to start calling their nearest sports bar and reserving a table, because a dispute between Sunbeam and DirecTV has resulted in the local Fox station getting yanked from the television sets of about 270,000 homes.

In Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, WSVN-Ch. 7, the local Fox channel, replaced the station's feed with the following message at midnight on Saturday:

“No need to call us. Service will be restored as soon as technical difficulties are resolved. Please check this channel periodically for status updates. Sorry for the interruption."

In addition, the Sunbeam dispute has caused the NBC affiliate in the Boston area to be blacked out. That's not nearly as bad for football, of course, but it's not exactly good news either.

The technical difficulties aren't technical, though. They're financial -- Sunbeam and DirecTV can't reach an agreement on the cost for retransmission fees.

"There is always one outlier, like Sunbeam, who has no problem committing an unthinkable abuse of the public trust in an effort to shake down an excessive financial arrangement for themselves," said Derek Chang, executive vice president of Programming for DIRECTV said in a statement released by DirecTV. "We have no problem compensating Sunbeam fairly, but we have to take a stand against runaway greed and a shameless attempt to extort a more than 300 percent fee increase that our customers risk having to absorb. Sunbeam has completely disregarded its obligations to the public, NFL fans and hundreds of thousands of our loyal customers."

It's possible that this dispute will be resolved by the time that the Packers and Giants start playing on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET. But there's little to no chance that these customers receive any Fox feed by the time the Saints and 49ers tee off on Saturday.

The smart, albeit incredibly frustrating, move is for anyone in the Miami area with DirecTV to bolt for their nearest watering hole.

Ed. Note: We previously had Boston losing Fox in here; apologies for that and thanks to Mac for pointing out it was NBC.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 3:19 pm

Peyton, Eli doing 'Football Cops' for DirecTV

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE: We've got a Season 1 trailer, courtesy of FootballCops.com! Peyton Manning is "Mike Tahoe," Eli's "C.J. Hunter" and there's an Archie cameo as well. And while I'm still not sure if it's an "actual television show," I am laughing pretty hard right now.

Peyton Manning, as our own Mike Freeman noted, has been pretty quiet this offseason, despite starring in the NFL players' antitrust lawsuit against the league.

Perhaps that's simply because he's been hanging out with his brother Eli, filming a series of cop dramas for DirecTV in advance of the upcoming NFL season.

No, seriously. Via Monsters & Critics, here's some sort of behind-the-scenes sort of video that DirecTV's dropped in recent days (including the photo above and the one below).

Now, there are a couple of things to point out about these little chunks of media.

1. Does this mean that DirecTV -- provider of the SUNDAY TICKET package and would-be defender of the fan via a lockout policy -- is planning for a 2011 season? Because if Peyton and Eli are shooting commercials for the upcoming year, it doesn't guarantee football, but it certainly seems like a positive step. Or …

2. Does this mean DirecTV is planning on NO SEASON, and simply banking on a groundbreaking dramatic series from the Manning brothers to fill up the time in which they'd normally be running actual NFL football. And …

3. How amazing are these mustaches, you guys???

The answers to those kind of questions seem to be 1) yes, 2) unlikely, and 3) absolutely amazing.

No amount of commercial shoots are going to lock in the NFL season, of course. But, remember, we're in baby-step mode, and every bit of positive momentum counts, even if it's just a Manning Bros cop drama.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:40 pm

DirecTV: No Sunday Ticket cost til after lockout

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE: Turns out that the customer service person we spoke with was wrong -- DirecTV will NOT be charging you until the lockout is resolved.

"In years past, we typically do start billing in July, but this year, due to the uncertainty around the NFL labor dispute, there will be absolutely no charge for your NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription until it is confirmed that the 2011 NFL season will begin," Charles Miller, Director of Digital Care at DirecTV, told CBSSports.com. "What you and other customers will see on your July bill is a balance of $0.00 for the NFL SUNDAY TICKET portion and this will remain at $0 until the NFL dispute is resolved."

So, NFL fans have that going for them -- don't bother cancelling your subscription just yet.

DirecTV's "Sunday Ticket" package has become a staple for the hardcore NFL fan over the past few years. Whether it's the Red Zone channel or just an excuse to buy six more televisions, there's always a great reason to shell out $53.99 in six monthly installments to watch piles of football.

This year? Yeah, not as much, since the we're less than 100 days away from the NFL's season beginning and the lockout is still firmly in place.

Here's DirecTV's latest statement on the issue, posted on their website:
We at DIRECTV love football. That's why for over 15 years, DIRECTV has been the exclusive home for NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, the only way to watch your favorite teams no matter where you live. And DIRECTV will continue to be the exclusive home for NFL SUNDAY TICKET™. Like all football fans, we are hoping for a positive resolution to the current NFL labor negotiations. And when the NFL is ready to play, we will be ready to bring you every game every Sunday.

If the NFL negotiations result in a shortened or canceled season, rest assured that DIRECTV has you covered. Your subscription to NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ is risk-free: You will not pay for any game that the NFL does not play.*

Please return to this page for the latest updates and news concerning your NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ subscription.
Now, this SOUNDS pretty "risk-free," right? There's just one problem: DirecTV starts billing for Sunday Ticket in July. And, come July, the NFL will still have a concrete start date: September 8, 2011. The schedule won't change until the labor situation actually impedes on the season. And, sure enough, a quick call to DirecTV customer service confirmed this.

"We are going to start to charge for the NFL Sunday Ticket by … probably July 3 but there is no specific date," a DirecTV customer service representative told CBSSports.com. "But it will be in July."

See, that means if you had Sunday Ticket last year, per DirecTV's policy, you will have Sunday Ticket in 2011, unless you cancel. Making this infinitely more difficult is the fact that you can't cancel online. And because you're renewed, you will be charged beginning in about a month.

This is made even more confusing because on your June bill, you'll see a zero dollar charge for your Sunday Ticket automatic renewal.

That might seem to indicate you'll get it for free until the NFL season starts, but it doesn't.  Because the reality is you'll be charged for Sunday Ticket from now until the season is actually cancelled and/or moved.

It's nice of DirecTV to love the NFL and to [claim to] care about fans, but it would be a whole lot nicer if they waited until the labor dispute is actually resolved before charging the people who foot the bill for this entire football operation.

And, yeah, suddenly it's a lot harder to feel sorry for DirecTV getting strong-armed by the NFL in television negotiations.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 5:15 pm

A lost season in 2011 would cost DirecTV HUGE

Posted by Andy Benoit

If the 2011 NFL season gets does not get “unlocked out”, you can bet that plenty of people will be cancelling their DirecTV subscriptions (let’s face it…most of us football fans have, at one time or another, pined for an opportunity to do just that, given the way the satellite provider subtly increases its monthly fees a dollar or two at a time).

Even if DirecTV doesn’t see a wave of complete cancellations in the event of no football being played, they’d obviously still lose all their NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions. This, according to Alex Sherman of Bloomberg.com, would cost DirecTV $600-750 million in revenue. And that doesn’t include the missed opportunity of bringing in new subscribers.

“We’re optimistic that we will be fine,” Michael White, DirecTV’s chief executive officer, said. “Our hope is that somewhere between now and the summer, this gets resolved, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

In the event that everything does not turn out fine, thanks to Judge David Doty, at least White’s company would not have to pay the NFL $402 million. Of course, Doty could rule that networks must still make those payments and that owners have to share the revenue with players.

Needless to say, DirecTV, like all the NFL’s television partners, is praying for a positive outcome.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2010 9:07 am

Givin' Em the Business: Bearded, drunk & stupid

Givin Em the Business recognizes all the people that annoyed you from the week that was in football. Feel free to provide nominations either in the comments or by yelling at us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .

Rank Who Why


Braylon Edwards
Everyone's done stupid stuff in their life before. Sometimes drunk driving is among that stupid stuff. But that doesn't excuse this bearded clown hopping in a car -- with two teammates! -- and cruising around New York City -- a city with approximately 7,000,000 taxi cabs! -- absolutely lit up -- two times the legal limit! -- while ignoring the fact that his team is under a microscope -- and that they provide a taxi service for players! The best part was when he said he didn't think it caused a black eye for his team. /SMH


Full disclosure: I am a DirecTV customer. I love DirecTV almost as much as I hate Time Warner. I spend hundreds of dollars a month their way for excessive sports packages (and some movie action, but just about 25 percent worth, if the IRS happens to be reading). But the joke of a job they're doing with their online Sunday Ticket package makes AT&T look like a competent cell phone company.


Andy Reid
Hey, big guy, make up your freaking mind, m'kay? Look, sometimes I find myself sitting at the buffet line wondering whether I want the quickly cooked hot wings or the slow-cooked ribs. And then I think "OHHHH, I want BOTH." So I keep walking back and forth between the two, trying desperately to decide which it is I want, flipping back and forth a couple times, before I finally just decide to have both. Of course, that doesn't make me a bad person because I'm not making decisions about REAL PEOPLE.


Brandon Jacobs
The NFL is (in Jacobs' own words) a 'cutthroat business.' As such, if you lose some reps, get fired or treated poorly, well, you have to deal with it like a grown man. It seemed like Jacobs was going to do that the first time, when he merely stated how disappointed he was for himself. Now, he's suddenly throwing helmets into stands and not-actually demanding to get trades. Follow your own advice, Brandon, and act like a man.


Vincent Jackson
There's some sympathy to be had for a guy that deserves more money than he's making and only got hosed because the CBA got cancelled. But there's also something to be said to the guy who could have signed a multi-million dollar tender, played this year and then earned a fatty-fatterson contract next offseason. And that thing is, "SIGN THE DAMN CONTRACT, DUDE."


A.J. Smith
Of course, V-Jax isn't just at fault -- could Smith and the Chargers really not just have given him a little bump in pay? Or said, "you know what, forget it, we'll take a second- and a fourth-rounder in exchange from Minnesota." They don't need him, necessarily, but why on Earth you'd pass up that kind of draft bonus in 2011 or that kind of production in 2010 is beyond anything reasonable.


Albert Haynesworth
Well, this is getting repitive, isn't it? There's a good chance Haynesworth makes it here every week. The amazing thing about his appearance today, though, is the fact that he was inactive for his team's loss against the Texans on Sunday for "being a pain." And he very nearly became the first person ever to get put on the inactive list after the game. Either way, Haynesworth clearly can't get rid of his attitude problem, he clearly can't get along with coach Mike Shanahan, and he clearly needs to get traded so we can stop talking about this every week.


Jerry Jones
JERRAH. What is the deal with this calm reaction to an 0-2 start? Why ae you supporting the team and Wade Phillips and trying to act like you're not worried about the team slowly losing its grasp on a chance to win a Super Bowl in your brand new stadium?!? Come on, man! We want hellfire and brimstone and cooking Phillips' bacon cooking and a midseason coaching fire and Tony Romo benching and everything else that comes with a really angry Texas billionaire.


Matt Moore
The one thing that your team asks you to do, Mr. Moore, is to not turn the ball over. It also helps if you can not do so in the red zone as well. And really, anything slightly better than "Jake Delhomme" would satisfy the Panthers' fans and coaches. Yet, you're somehow worse. So now we all have to deal with the prospect that Jimmy Clausen could be good and Mel Kiper could be right. Also: all of our NBA blogger-as-a-quarterback jokes are dead . Thanks for nothing.


Icing the Kicker
No, this does NOT have to do with me losing one of my expert picks because Gary Kubiak out Mike Shanahan'd Mike Shanahan. It has to do with a ridiculous rule that shouldn't be in the NFL anymore. Look, it's okay to ice a kicker as the team is lining up and about to snap, but icing someone literally seconds before the snap happens and forcing the kick to go through is ridiculous. It's like standing next to someone who's putting on the 18th for their career low and screaming in their face, then giving them a mulligan and promising you'll be quiet. In other words, just annoying.

Posted on: September 20, 2010 4:29 pm

F&R NFL Approval Matrix: Week 2

Posted by Will Brinson

Our affinity for graphs and charts and purty pictures knows no bounds, so (with a nod to the smartypants at NY Mag ), we present our first-ever NFL approval matrix. Suggestions, complaints and intellecutual property lawsuits may be directed to us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).

Click to make larger /embiggen .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com