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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