Atlantic Cities

Orlando's CBS Affiliate Apologizes for Forcing Viewers to Watch the Jaguars

Orlando's CBS Affiliate Apologizes for Forcing Viewers to Watch the Jaguars
Associated Press

Orlando area NFL fans hoping to watch star quarterbacks (and brothers) Peyton and Eli Manning face off Sunday were instead stuck with something much worse: the Jacksonville Jaguars versus the Oakland Raiders.

The Jaguars, laughing stock of the NFL and fresh off a 28-2 loss last week, aren't exactly a team many people outside Jacksonville want to watch, even inside Florida. But some were forced to watch anyway, thanks to quirks of the NFL's broadcasting agreements.

Sunday afternoon NFL games are aired (depending on the matchup) by local CBS or FOX station affiliates. When no local team is playing in a given market, marquee games, usually at the 4 p.m. slot, are seen by most of the country (like yesterday's Broncos-Giants game).

With no team of their own, Orlando is considered the "secondary" market for the Jacksonville Jaguars (145 miles away); it's been that way since the team's 1995 birth. The NFL's rules for secondary markets requires local affiliates to carry each of their designated team's road games, regardless of the level of interest. It's a policy that, while mildly annoying to football fans, rarely makes station affiliates feel the need to proactively apologize. But in this case, local CBS affiliate WKMG-TV was so bummed about not being able to give its viewers the Broncos-Giants game that they issued an apology during the game. Station manager Skip Valet told the Associated Press, "I know it's frustrating, but as a CBS station in this market you have to carry the away games."

Fans were not pleased. One tweeted:

If you're curious, and you're probably not, the Jaguars lost 9-19. 

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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