Nearly a quarter of a million Boston area DirecTV subscribers have been cut off from a pair of Boston television stations since Saturday. Unless the stations owners and DirecTV can come up with a resolution to their dispute chances are good those customer’s will have to go elsewhere to watch the Super Bowl on February 5.
WHDH TV Channel 7 and WLVI TV Channel 56 owners Sunbeam Television Corp. blacked out it’s stations signals from DirecTV while it seeks an increase in the fees that DirecTV pays to carry the station.
Sunbeam says that DirecTV refuses to come anywhere near what the established market rate is for those fees and that the proposed rates from DirecTV are too low.
DirecTV executives have accused Sunbeam of a “shameless attempt to extort a more than 300 percent fee increase that our customers will have to absorb.”
DirecTV had asked Sunbeam to keep the signals to WHDH and WLVI available over the weekend but to no avail. WHDH has suggested that customers switch satellite companies, change to cable or buy digital rabbit ear antenna’s to receive the stations over the air signals.
A DirecTV blackout of the Super Bowl broadcast which is being carried by NBC affiliate WHDH this year in the Boston market could be huge with two teams with deep, local roots facing each other.
Several Boston area businesses that have the DirecTV service are concerned. They are counting on the Super Bowl and the participation of the Patriots and Giants to bring customers to their bars. If no agreement is reached by February 5th those businesses are in line to lose a lot of money by not being able to show the game.
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