Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the Erie, Pa. and Youngstown, Ohio areas might be blacked out from watching the team’s first game of the season thanks to a carriage dispute involving DirecTV. The Steelers’ Week 1 game against the San Francisco 49ers is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday from Acrisure Stadium. The game will be broadcast on FOX affiliates around the country, with significant coverage across the northeast and western parts of the country. But fans that have DirecTV and have WYFX FOX Youngstown Channel 62 and WXFP Erie Channel 66 as their local broadcaster won’t be able to watch thanks to a carriage dispute between the satellite provider and Nexstar, the company that owns the Youngstown and Erie stations. Nexstar owns 197 stations across the country, including FOX affiliates in Cleveland and Albany, Plattsburgh and Utica, New York that would have also broadcast the game. Those stations will still make the game available free over the air and to customers of other pay television and streaming services. Nexstar’s stations went dark on DirecTV in July.
Each company has blamed the other for the outage. “While we’re working around the clock to restore the affected stations by the start of the upcoming football season, Nexstar’s greed could force the outage into the start of the football seasons affecting some customers who won’t be able watch their hometown teams,” the DirecTV website tells its customers. “WKBN and Fox Youngstown’s parent company, Nexstar, is working hard to resolve the impasse with DIRECTV, but the company has twice turned down Nexstar’s offer of an extension,” a story posted to the website of FOX Youngstown’s sister station WKBN read. The Steelers will be broadcast nationally on ABC and NBC the next two weeks, in Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football respectively.
The team is not scheduled to play on FOX again until Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, but the Nexstar and DirecTV dispute may impact different affiliates in other markets.