Watching the Florida vs. Missouri game on TV? Not so fast, my friend!

UPDATE: Ignore the part where I say the game will be on MyZouTV and replace it with KMIZ.  MyZouTV typically broadcasts the SEC TV games, but they're moving the Missouri game up to KMIZ this week.  The article is still relevant, however.

No. 14 Missouri plays No. 22 Florida on Saturday, and if you live in mid-Missouri and subscribe to DirecTV, you may not be able to watch it. DirecTV and News-Press & Gazette Company (known locally as "The Networks of Mid-Missouri" and referred to as NPG here) continue to be at an impasse in their contract negotiations. The result is the picture above, which is what is now seen on KMIZ 17 (ABC), KQFX 22 (FOX), MeTV, and MyZouTV 18 (My Network TV).

While this money grab from both sides has affected local TV and network programming on both ABC and FOX, it's also meant no college football, NASCAR, ALCS or NFL games. More relevant to this article is Channel 18's SEC TV syndication agreement.

If you don't know, let me give you an overview of how syndicated SEC TV works for football:

  • CBS holds the rights to the tier 1 game, which is announced 13 days prior. They also have the right to select a game 6 days prior twice in a season.
  • ESPN holds the rights to the tier 2 games, which I believe accounts for three games per week.
  • The SEC has partnered with ESPN to produce and distribute most of the rest of the games. ESPN subcontracts that out for the actual production of the game. Just like the tier 2 games, these games have ESPN graphics, but the ESPN logo is replaced with the SEC TV logo. ESPN then resells these games to other broadcast networks (this is called syndication) and that's who you tune into to watch the game. These networks can be local TV stations or regional sports networks, such as FSN. In most of the SEC footprint, these games are mostly on local stations. Outside of the footprint, games are broadcast mostly on regional sports networks, MSG being one. SEC TV is syndicated on MyZouTV (channel 18) in mid-Missouri.

Beyond all of that, the local stations (almost always owned by a corporation that does the negotiating) have their own distribution contracts with cable providers and satellite companies.

In this case, NPG no longer has a contract with DirecTV. It expired at the end of September and was extended to October 9 in "good faith." An agreement still hasn't been reached, and DirecTV can no longer distribute their feed.

So what's going to happen? DirecTV and NPG could reach an agreement in the next several days, which would restore service. ESPN could offer up the game on one of its alternate networks (209-1 or 209-2). Or NPG could allow DirecTV to be broadcast, as NPG is a Missouri company operating out of St. Joseph.

Collectively, we can call and complain. A lot. Get your friends, co-workers and neighbors to help. It shouldn't matter if you are a DirecTV subscriber or not, complain anyway. Below are a few numbers to call and let them know how you really feel:

KMIZ: (573) 449-0917
NPG: I can't find a phone number, but drop them a line here.
DirecTV: (800) 531-5000

If you subscribe to the sports tier, you might be able to watch the game on MSGHD (634), but I'm not sure if there's a local blackout policy in place.

We've seen a lot of these contract disputes and blackouts in the past few years, and I'm sure we're going to see it more, especially as cable companies and satellite providers consolidate and people continue to move to streaming as their primary source of entertainment.

Are you as excited as I am for the SEC Network?

EDIT: An "explanation"

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