Angry fans lodged more than 200 complaints Monday with KMPH (Channel 26.1) in response to the local Fox affiliate's not showing Sunday's Oakland Raiders-Philadelphia Eagles game. KMPH station manager Jack L. Peck says the local Fox affiliate had nothing to do with the game being bumped.
Fox Network executives decided Friday afternoon to cancel the broadcast. The network wanted the time slot open in case the Saturday night American League Championship Series game between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees was delayed due to rain.
"They were concerned because there was a 90% chance of rain. We were told the plan was to run the [baseball] game at, or around, 1 p.m. [Sunday] following the morning NFL game," Peck said. "I asked them what if it doesn't rain and we will have switched."
Peck was told such decisions had to be made and in place before the weekend. Waiting until after the second Sunday NFL game would've put the ALCS game in direct competition with the National League Championship Series game between Los Angeles and Philadelphia on TBS.
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After Saturday's Angels-Yankees game wasn't rained out, Peck said, he tried to get someone at Fox to reverse the decision. His failed effort left local Raiders fans without a way to see the game unless they subscribed to one of the NFL cable sites.
No NFL doubleheader had been planned for Fox affiliates Sunday. Because KMPH was to show the Raiders game in the afternoon, the station planned to show infommercials Sunday morning. Once the Raiders game was no longer available, KMPH showed the New Orleans Saints-New York Giants game at 10 a.m.
Dan Bell, vice president of communications for Fox Sports, explained that the reason for the switch by Fox was twofold: to give more viewers the chance to see what appeared to be the marquee game of the Saints and Giants, which featured two undefeated teams; and to have the open time slot in case of a baseball rain delay.
Bell added it was too late once the baseball game concluded Saturday night for affiliates to be allowed to switch back to their original plans.
The majority of the time, KMPH doesn't have the rights to show a Raiders game. The deal Fox has with the NFL is to broadcast NFC games while CBS is home to AFC contests. NBC and ESPN have no such exclusive agreements for their weekly NFL broadcasts. The Eagles-Raiders game featured teams from both conferences and in that case, it's the visiting team that determines which network has the rights to show the game. The Eagles are an NFC team.
Because of how late the decision was made, on-cable and printed TV listings Sunday showed KMPH's original schedule.
Peck said the Fox decision was a bad situation made worse by the fact the Raiders won the game.