Update, Feb. 4, 9:23 a.m.: In a news release Thursday morning, AT&T outlined details about how DirecTV customers in the Seattle-Tacoma area can still watch the Super Bowl without any additional costs incurred. Customers who cannot get the game on KIRO-CBS due to the blackout can watch using the Locast Interactive TV app in their DirecTV Genie set-top box connected to the internet. The NFL and CBS will stream the Super Bowl live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports app, and the NFL app.
Also, if you have a digital TV, AT&T says you can turn off your receiver and tune your digital TV to the local channel of the Cox station involved — that’s channel 7 in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
Is there any chance that Cox Media Group and AT&T/DirecTV will resolve things by the end of this week and end the blackout?
“I don’t have specific information on that, but we would hope, and we’re working hard,” said Suzanne Trantow, AT&T’s lead public relations manager. “Cox is pulling the signal. We’re not taking the game off air. We’ve tried numerous times to reach an agreement. It would be great to come to an agreement.”
We have bad news for Seattle-area sports fans who were hoping to watch CBS’ broadcast of the Super Bowl using their DirecTV subscription this Sunday: You’re probably out of luck.
Negotiations between the AT&T satellite television provider and KIRO 7’s parent company, Cox Media Group, have broken down, and DirecTV yesterday removed the channel from its menu.
It’s unclear how many viewers this will affect in Western Washington, but it’s sure to have an impact — especially on just-reopening restaurants and bars where cable and DirecTV are still staples.
The stakes aren’t just high for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will square off in Super Bowl LV on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. They’re also high for KIRO 7, the Seattle area’s CBS affiliate. The channel can still be seen on other providers, but it will lose some of its local visibility on the biggest ad-buying and viewership day of the year. More than 100 million people routinely tune into the game.
Officials at KIRO 7 did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but released a statement through the station’s website putting the blame on AT&T/DirecTV for refusing to reach a “fair agreement” with Cox and its more than a dozen affected local stations.
“We are hopeful AT&T/DIRECTV will abandon its blackout plan and reach a fair deal with [Cox Media Group],” KIRO said in its statement.
The station said the outage will not affect viewers who use other means to access its content, and made alternate recommendations for accessing the Super Bowl and other programming, including streaming and other satellite providers. The statement also said you can still access the station’s over-the-air feed with a relatively cheap HD antenna, and it encouraged disappointed viewers to call AT&T/DirecTV to complain.
AT&T/DirecTV did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday, but in a statement released to industry news site TVTechnology.com this week, the company said: “We’re disappointed Cox Media Group and Wall Street financier Apollo Global Management have intentionally put our customers into the middle of a private business matter. … We continue to work with Apollo and Cox to get to these stations back and appreciate our customers’ patience while we do.”