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Reader E-Mail: How Can The Vikings Game be On CBS in New York City This Week?

Friday, October 16, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 12:08 PM, under ,

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From time to time, we receive email from readers asking questions about sports media. This weeks question comes from Brad T, asking how can the Vikings game be on Fox Sports at 1:00 ET if the Jets are playing a home game and is one of the CBS Doubleheader games at 4:15 PM ET.


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So here is my situation. I like in Brooklyn. I am a Vikings fan. CBS has the double header this week, and the Jets play at 4:15. The Giants will be on Fox at 1. The 506 shows that the Vikings are the early game on New York's local CBS. But, I've read that in local markets you can't show a game opposite the 'home' team, in this case the Giants. So will the game be on? I feel like it will. Also, do you happen to know how early they will switch over to the Jets? I figure usually in time to get the announcers in the booth before kickoff…Basically I want to know if I can watch the Vikings at home this week, instead of going to the bar.
- Brad R.

Ah, welcome to the confusing world known as the National Football League (NFL) broadcast policies. It is a tangled web, so let's start with the official broadcasting rules from the NFL (by way of Maury Brown at the Biz of Football):


BROADCASTING POLICIES

Glossary of Terms

Franchised Market - television market (ADI or DMA) that has an NFL franchise (i.e. Buffalo, NY or Phoenix, AZ).

Secondary Blackout Market - television market in the home territory (with station(s) having signal penetration to within 75 miles of the game site) of an NFL franchise that is subject to blackout restrictions.

Early Game - Game with kickoff at 1:05 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Late Game - Game with kickoff at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Blackout Policy


To ensure an NFL club's ability to sell all of its game tickets, and to make televised games more attractive to viewers through the presence of sellout crowds, the following policy is observed by the NFL:

For a home game to be aired locally in the franchised market and in any secondary blackout market(s), the game must be sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff. If the game is not a sellout by the 72 hour cutoff, both the home franchised market and the secondary markets of the carrying network will air an alternate game.

Number of Games in a Market


With regard to the number of NFL games seen in a particular market on a Sunday afternoon, there are three different situations.

1. An NFL franchised market (i.e. New York, Chicago, Dallas, etc.).

On a week when the NFL team (or teams) in a market is on the ROAD Sunday, Monday or Thursday night or Saturday afternoon, the market will receive three Sunday afternoon games... two telecasts by the network with the doubleheader week and one game by the network with the single game week. When an NFL team in the market is playing at HOME on Sunday afternoon, the market will receive two games... one game on FOX and one game on CBS, regardless of which network has the doubleheader week. Unless 1) the home team's assigned telecaster that day (CBS or FOX) is also on the doubleheader network and 2) the game is sold out 72 hours in advance. Then the three games would be the home team's and two other games in the remaining early or late window.

2. All other television markets (including secondary blackout markets).

Network affiliates in these markets will receive three games on Sunday afternoon, two on the doubleheader network (one early and one late) and one game on the single game network (either early or late).

Selection of Games to be Telecast Regionally


By network contract, all team road games must be telecast back to that team's home territory (franchised market and secondary blackout markets).

Other than the above requirement, the televising network is the sole selector of which game(s) will be aired in all markets.

Confusing enough? The section we are concerned with is Number of Games in a Market, bullet number 1:

When an NFL team in the market is playing at HOME on Sunday afternoon, the market will receive two games... one game on FOX and one game on CBS, regardless of which network has the doubleheader week.

But the "doubleheader language" gets confused by the following statement:

Unless 1) the home team's assigned telecaster that day (CBS or FOX) is also on the doubleheader network and 2) the game is sold out 72 hours in advance.  Then the three games would be the home  team's and two other games in the remaining early or late window.<

New York City is a NFL Franchised Market. The Jets are playing at home in the second game of the CBS Doubleheader. The Giants are on the road at New Orleans, playing the 1:00 PM ET game on Fox. So by extension, because CBS is the doubleheader network this week, they get to show a 1:00 PM game as well.

Because the Ravens - Vikings are the most attractive game on CBS in the 1:00 PM window this week, it makes sense that New York City would get that game. The question is how well it will do going opposite the Giants and the Saints on Fox.

Wow, I am out of breath. Are you? Of course the easiest way to find out if the game is on is to check the local CBS affiliate schedule.

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