It took a month, but a blackout that prevented Boston residents from watching NBC’s coverage of the Open Championship and the first week of the Olympics on DirecTV has ended. A dispute between Sunbeam Television and DirecTV that led to the blackout of WHDH and its sister station, CW affiliate, WLVI was resolved, aloosing the stations to return to the satellite provider. The Boston Globe reports that it finally ended at 10:07 p.m. ET.
In a statement, DirecTV’s owner AT&T, said it’s nice that the dispute is over, but added blackouts are silly:
“AT&T is pleased that Sunbeam Television has returned WHDH-NBC and WLVI-CW into our Boston customers’ line-ups so they are free to watch the Rio Olympics without any further inconvenience. Yet, we also believe these two stations should have never been taken away in the first place, and companies like Sunbeam must end these intentional blackouts and focus on putting their viewers first instead.”
The statement added that Sunbeam wanted a significant increase in its subscriber fees. And it assured that Boston residents would be able to watch the Olympics going forward. AT&T put the blame on the Sunbeam for rejecting an offer that would have allowed Boston subscribers to watch the Olympics right from the Opening Ceremony.
WHDH Vicxe President Paul Magnes said in a statement of his own:
“We are pleased that we were able to negotiate a new agreement so that DirecTV customers can once again view 7News, this week’s Olympic events, and all of the other network and local programming on WHDH and WLVI.
… We also believe these two stations should have never been taken away in the first place, and companies like Sunbeam must end these intentional blackouts and focus on putting their viewers first instead.”
But while the Boston dispute is over, another one begins. Eight Heartland Media stations are blacked out in markets in Columbus, OH, Tupelo, MS, Utica, NY (all NBC affiliates) and in Oregon. And three ABC affiliates in North Dakota operated by Forum Communications remained blacked out on DirecTV.
These disputes leave the viewers in the middle and angry about not having their favorite programs or sports available to watch.