Christmas Parade Feud Heats Up in Raleigh Market

By Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel 

The Greater Raleigh Merchants Association is addressing a feud between two stations in the Raleigh, North Carolina market over rights to annual Christmas parade.

For the past decade, the local NBC affiliate, WRAL, has been the primary title sponsor of the parade. The primary sponsor has exclusive rights to sell sponsorships and broadcast the event.

According to a letter issued by the GRMA, the partnership had some rough spots which both parties tried to work out for the 2017 parade but couldn’t.

WRAL had failed to live up to certain contract obligations. GRMA and WRAL were unable to come to mutually agreeable terms for the 2017 parade sponsorship, so GRMA was left with no option but to seek out another broadcast and title sponsor for the 2017 parade.

So the bid process began and the ABC affiliate, WTVD, made an offer that was accepted. But WRAL is not taking it lightly, the letter states:

Since learning that the 2017 contract was awarded to WTVD, WRAL has retaliated against GRMA in many ways. In past years, WRAL asked other media outlets to respect its broadcast rights when it had the exclusive media partner contract and not broadcast the parade. The other media stations in the market acted as responsible corporate citizens and respected the exclusive broadcast contract for the parade. WRAL however has refused to live by the same code.

The GRMA says WRAL plans to broadcast the parade despite losing the contract.

WRAL has continued to air commercials, post blogs about the parade and share on social media in an attempt to confuse the public that it is in some manner associated with the Raleigh Christmas Parade and that it is a sponsoring entity of what belongs to GRMA and you, our members.

The association is asking WRAL and Capitol Broadcasting to “do the right thing.” The station’s management has made it publicly known that they plan to broadcast the parade as they have in years past.