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Raiders-Broncos season opener could be blacked out for some local viewers

Updated September 1, 2023 - 3:35 pm

DirecTV subscribers must be holding their collective breath — especially if they’re football fans.

College football’s Week 1 kicks off in earnest Saturday, with the NFL following next week, and KLAS-TV, Channel 8, has been off DirecTV since July 2.

Channel 8 is broadcasting No. 3 Ohio State at Indiana and Texas Tech at Wyoming on Saturday, followed by Northwestern at Rutgers and Oregon State at San Jose State on Sunday.

That might not come across as that big of a deal. But consider this: The station is scheduled to air the Raiders-Broncos season opener from Denver on Sept. 10.

Will that, and situations like it across the country, be enough to settle a standoff that will hit its two-month anniversary on Saturday?

The 159 stations that Nexstar Media Group owns in 113 markets were removed from DirecTV services after the companies were unable to reach a new contract. At the heart of the dispute are retransmission fees, the money local stations charge cable and satellite providers to air the same content that’s available for free on apps or over the air via an antenna.

In Las Vegas, it affects the CBS affiliate, but DirecTV subscribers in other cities across the country have lost access to their ABC, NBC and Fox affiliates.

“While we’re working around the clock to restore the affected stations by the start of the upcoming football season,” DirecTV said in a statement dated Aug. 18, “Nexstar’s greed could force the outage into the start of the football seasons affecting some customers who won’t be able watch their hometown teams.”

The statement also reminded subscribers they could access the sports programming they’re missing because of the dispute via Paramount+ for CBS games and Peacock for NBC games, or through a digital antenna.

Nexstar countered with the following: “Once again, DirecTV is misleading its subscribers, as they have done consistently throughout this impasse. … In fact, for weeks following the expiration of our contract in early July, DirecTV didn’t bother to negotiate or even talk with us.”

It’s the third time Channel 8 has gone dark for some local viewers since it was acquired by Nexstar in 2015. In early 2016, a dispute between Nexstar and Cox Communications resulted in Channel 8 being knocked off the local cable system for five days and threatened access to Super Bowl 50. A disagreement between Nexstar and DirecTV in 2019 kept the channel away from local subscribers from July 3 till the end of August.

The Raiders-Broncos game is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. Sept. 10.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on X.

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