Iowa Fans May Not Get To Watch Orange Bowl

↵A big media company is in a tussle with another big media company while sports fans are left in the cold and unable to watch important football games. I swear this is a different story than the one we posted yesterday. ↵

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↵The Iowa City Press Citizen reports that fans in and around Iowa City may not be able to watch the Orange Bowl -- yes, the very BCS exhibition game the Iowa Hawkeyes are slated to play in on January 5, 2010. Because of a squabble between Mediacom Cable and the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns the local FOX and CBS affiliates, Iowans with Mediacom Cable may no longer be getting those networks, and therefore won't be able to watch the Orange Bowl. The story is as ridiculous as it sounds. ↵

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↵Per the report, the contract between Mediacom and Sinclair expires at the end of the year. Sinclair wants to renegotiate a higher fee for the two channels to be carried on the cable system, and unless a deal can be worked out by January 5th, fans won't get the channel televising the Orange Bowl. In fact, with CBS broadcasting the Super Bowl, there's a chance some Iowans won't be able to watch that game either. And that's just not right. ↵

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↵⇥Mediacom Communi-cations Director Phyllis Peters said Sinclair is using the Orange Bowl to rally viewers to its side. ↵⇥
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↵⇥"We're disappointed that the scare tactics are being deployed unnecessarily," Peters said. "We are committed to the good-faith negotiations process that will ensure game coverage on Jan. 5." ↵
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↵This seems to be a recurring theme between the two companies. But unlike three years ago when the cable provider took a feed from a neighboring system, they can't do that this year without causing some sort of FCC blackout situation. ↵

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↵And that's where this has gone -- to the FCC. Iowa politicians and University of Iowa president Sally Mason have reached out to the FCC to create an injunction at least until after the Orange Bowl. Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said the school has reached out to both parties directly, but nothing has been worked out. ↵

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↵It's interesting to note that this has happened before with bowl games and media outlets coming to a temporary agreement to allow fans to see their local team play on the big stage. In 2006, the Texas Bowl between Rutgers and Kansas State aired on NFL Network and without a carriage deal for NFLN in the New York market, and parts of Kansas, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision both offered free previews of the station to allow fans to watch the bowl game. In fact, TWC gave fans an entire week of preview, seemingly as a gesture of good faith. Perhaps the two should remember that, in light of their on-going standoff. ↵

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↵With all due respect to the Texas Bowl, this is the Orange Bowl we're talking about. And this isn't the NFL Network we're talking about, either. FOX and CBS have a whole lot more programming than just two football games. But it's Iowa City, so obviously the Hawkeyes are the biggest concern to most of the locals. Since it's just the second time that Iowa has made one of the top-tier bowls since the BCS was invented, let's hope this situation gets resolved in time for fans to see the Orange Bowl this season. You never know when the next time will come. ↵

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↵(H/T Black Heart Gold Pants) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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