Since the evening of July 19, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse subscribers in 17 of the nation’s largest markets have been without CBS programming. The reason, according to a press release from CBS, is because AT&T was not prepared to pay as much as it’s competitors to carry the network. The new agreement was made just hours before opening weekend of the NFL’s preseason.
“CBS has reached timely, fair agreements with hundreds of other cable, satellite, telco and internet providers to carry out our industry-leading, fan-favorite programming. AT&T, however, continues to propose unfair terms well below those agreed to by its competitors and may drop CBS unless we agree to those terms,” exclaimed the network in a mid July press release.
As a result of the negotiating stalemate – New York, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have been without the CBS family of networks for the last three weeks. In a joint press release Thursday morning, however, the two sides announced they reached an multi-year agreement.
“CBS and AT&T regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience,” the release read.
It’s no coincidence the agreement was made just hours before opening weekend of the NFL’s preseason – with a number of local CBS stations set to air match ups in the 17 blacked out markets. AT&T and CBS may not have seen eye to eye this summer, but both parties were certainly united in their attempt to appease the almighty NFL as we inch closer to Week 1 in September.
This year, both Roger Goodell and AT&T have hinted at the possibility of DirecTV losing it’s exclusive Sunday Ticket rights as the league flirts with big streaming possibilities in the future. With that storyline in the background, AT&T can hardly afford a game of chicken with one of the NFL’s top partners heading into the season.