Under Pressure to Pay Hefty NFL Debts, TV Stations Will Use FCC’s Broken ‘Retrans’ Rules To Gouge Consumers
PITTSBURGH, March 19, 2021 – ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on news that the National Football League has reached new long-term deals with its media partners:
“Yesterday, the NFL announced new TV rights agreements with CBS, NBC, Fox, and Disney’s ABC and ESPN. According to published reports, these deals are worth an estimated $95 billion combined — more than double their current annual payments to the NFL.
“While media giants ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox spike the ball in the end zone, ACA Connects members are troubled because they know these deals will leave millions of consumers with the financial equivalent of a torn ACL. Broadcast networks and TV station owners like Sinclair, Nexstar, Tegna and Apollo Global Management will continue to leverage the broken retransmission consent rules to demand excessive fees from smaller cable operators, driving up the cost to watch what broadcasters like to call ‘free TV.’ In order to make up for their massive NFL obligations, broadcasters will hike their prices even higher — and, ironically, use blackouts of NFL games themselves in order to do so.
“These broadcast giants have just asked Congress for stimulus funds in order to — as they claim -– ‘preserve’ local TV news. Perhaps they could have spent some of the $95 billion they just committed to secure NFL rights instead.
“The people who really get hurt here are pay-TV customers forced to shoulder the cost of NFL rights but only want to watch the local news and weather. That’s why ACA Connects last week thanked Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) for re-introducing their bipartisan bill, the Modern Television Act of 2021, that would eliminate retransmission consent and end the NFL-induced squeeze on consumers.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 600 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their businesses. For more information, visit: http://www.ACAConnects.org