Tegna's map of stations in 2022. Tegna’s map of stations in 2022. (Tegna.com.)

Carriage disputes are often ended right ahead of major sports events, and the latest case of that comes with DirecTV-Tegna. The 64 Tegna-owned local affiliates (including many CBS and NBC affiliates) in 51 markets went dark on DirecTV at the end of November after the two sides couldn’t reach an extension agreement. But on Saturday afternoon, just ahead of the Cleveland Browns-Houston Texans game on NBC and the rest of the NFL’s Wild Card playoff round, Tegna and DirecTV (covering satellite DirecTV, streaming multichannel video provider DirecTV Stream, and U-verse cable) reached a deal. Here’s the release on that:

DIRECTV and TEGNA have reached a new multiyear distribution agreement covering TEGNA’s 64 owned stations in 51 Nielsen designated markets. All stations and programming will return to DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse customers today.

DIRECTV and TEGNA greatly appreciate the patience of their subscribers and viewers.

As mentioned above, that dispute had raged since November 30. It was impacting an estimated five million customers at that point. And that affected a lot of big sporting events, including college football conference championship games and the remainder of the NFL season (including Christmas games). But this dispute came under particular focus this week ahead of Browns-Texans, as that game was set to be blacked out for DirecTV subscribers in Cleveland on Tegna-owned NBC affiliate WKYC. Now, it won’t be.

There are many other markets where this will also have a potential impact on the NFL playoffs. Some of the biggest Tegna-owned affiliates are NBC stations in Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, and more (with those affiliations just renewed last week), CBS (airing the moved Pittsburgh Steelers-Buffalo Bills game Monday) affiliates in San Diego, Washington D.C., and Tampa, and ABC (airing the Philadelphia Eagles-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game Monday night) affiliates in Dallas, Austin, and Louisville.

As noted by Phillip Swann of TVAnswerman.com, this settlement did seem likely after U.S. senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) weighed in with a letter Friday:

But it’s still notable to see it done. While there were options for subscribers in those affected markets, from antennas to streaming services Peacock or Paramount+, having these games back on the typical MVPD packages will make them easier to watch for many. And that could lead to a ratings boost for those games.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.