CBS 21 regrets to inform fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers that Sunday's game at 4:15 p.m. against Cleveland will not be shown in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York television market.
Per NFL rules, our station must carry the Baltimore Ravens' game at Cincinnati at 4:15, instead.
This television market is designated a Ravens "secondary market" due to our proximity to Baltimore by the National Football League. A secondary market is defined as any market which is 75 miles from an NFL team. Obviously, York County falls within that 75 mile radius.
Again, in a secondary market, a TV station must show that club's road games.
If Baltimore was playing at home (and not on the road), CBS 21 could have and would have chosen to air the Steelers' game; a decision-making process which is allowed by the NFL.
The NFL figures fans of the Ravens living within a secondary market can attend the game in-person; that's why CBS 21 has some leeway when Baltimore has a home game.
We can choose to air a Steelers' game and we always do.
Again, there is no choice this coming Sunday.
Here's some other questions we typically receive during a situation like this one (addressed in one of my previous blogs):
Question: Why doesn't CBS 21 try and do something about this?
Answer: Representatives from CBS 21 have spoken with the NFL and CBS in the past. I've also been told a local Steelers fan club once presented the league with a petition with 20,000-40,000 signatures.
Obviously, the league is standing by its broadcast rules.
Question: Why can't CBS 21 air the Steelers on CBS 21 and the Ravens on another channel, like CW 15 or My21.2?
Answer: The National Football League has a $1 billion deal with Direct TV, according to The Wall Street Journal. That's billion...with a "b." Direct TV pays the NFL $1 billion a year for the exclusive right to sell the Sunday Ticket package, which allows customers to see every NFL game on Sundays, as opposed to simply the games shown on local broadcast channels.
Allowing local stations like CBS 21 to air a Steelers game on one channel and a Ravens game on our other channels would obviously ruin that deal.
Have you ever heard of anyone jeopardizing a $1 billion/year contract? Me neither.
CBS 21 is happy it can accommodate fans of the Baltimore Ravens. We also understand the frustration of Steelers fans in instances like this one.