Cable companies, Verizon play money ball; fans lose

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Turns out, it might have been a good thing that the Steelers weren't playing on TV Saturday night in an AFC playoff game against the New England Patriots. There might have been riots in Harrisburg.

A financial dispute between three CBS-affiliated TV stations and Verizon FiOS prevented Saturday's game between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos from being televised in the Harrisburg area, affecting 30,000 FiOS subscribers, who pay monthly for their service.

The Steelers lost to the Broncos last weekend or else they would have been on TV Saturday, outraging thousands of Pittsburgh fans in the Harrisburg area.

Since Friday, the main CBS station in Harrisburg, WHP-TV, and two related cable channels, all owned by Newport Television, have not been broadcast by FiOS. Each side blames the other for the financial dispute.

Local TV stations receive money from cable companies in exchange for the right to rebroadcast or retransmit their signals, and FiOS and Newport can't agree on how much should be paid.

These fees are a new source of revenue that some experts say could grow to at least $3.6 billion in coming years.

But local football fans just wanted to see the New England-Denver game Saturday night, and especially the Baltimore Ravens-Houston Texans game today. The Ravens are the third most popular team in the Harrisburg area, after the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.


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