NFL Broadcasting 101


So why wasn’t the Packers-Raiders game last Sunday shown on Rockford’s Fox affiliate Fox 39? Here’s why.

There are two networks that televise NFL games on Sunday afternoons Fox and CBS. Each Sunday one network is allowed to show one game. The other network is allowed to show a doubleheader. Generally the two networks alternate doubleheader Sundays.

Last Sunday was CBS’ doubleheader Sunday, so Fox 39 was only able to show one Fox game. With the Bears playing at noon that was the game that was shown. That meant the Packers game at 3:20 on Fox was not shown on Rockford television.

Rockford is considered a Bears’ TV market, not by us, but by the NFL and the Bears. Why? Because Rockford is located in the state of Illinois and is only an hour from the Chicago suburbs as opposed to three hours away from Green Bay.

So whenever the Bears appear on a Fox telecast we are required to show the Bears game. Frankly we’d be crazy if we didn’t because Bears fans would be irate if we didn’t. Even if the Bears are bad, as they are at the moment, Bears fans still want to see their Bears.

So the argument that the Packers should be shown because they’re the better team doesn’t mean we can drop or should drop the Bears and pick up the Packers game. Again the NFL won’t let us do that because we are in their eyes a Bears market.

Fortunately with the plethora of Sunday night, Monday night and now Thursday night games this situation doesn’t arise very often where Packers fans get shutout of a game because the Packers play in a lot of those night games. Plus on other Sundays the Bears and Packers often will both play at noon.

The good news Packers fans is this Sunday is a FOX doubleheader Sunday, so Fox 39 will show the Bears-Bucs game at noon and the big Packers-Cardinals game at 3:20.

I’ve said it before countless times we’d love nothing more than to show every Bears game and every Packers game that is ever played because we know our viewers would love that, and because TV ratings are higher for those games so it benefits our bottom line. But because of NFL broadcast rules and NFL teams’ territorial rights we can’t do that.

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