FOX Said to Be Eyeing KCPQ in Search of NFL Dollars

By Kevin Eck 

Fox-2Last July, FOX pulled its affiliation from Bahakel owned WCCB in Charlotte, N.C. and launched WJZY an owned station. Recently, FOX announced a swap with Cox media, getting San Francisco Bay Area affiliate KTVU and giving up a station in Memphis and one in Boston.

FOX has the NFC package for the NFL and Charlotte is home to the NFC’s Carolina Panthers. You could say KTVU is in the home of the AFC’s Oakland Raiders, but you don’t need to leave the SF Bay Area DMA to watch the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers play in their new Santa Clara home. The stations FOX gave up are in markets with AFC teams. See a pattern?

Now, the New York Post reports, FOX Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy has his sights set on Tribune’s Seattle FOX station KCPQ.

Fox is set to yank Tribune Media’s Fox affiliation KCPQ-TV (Fox 13) in Seattle, The Post has learned.

Seattle is the home of the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, which translates into big ratings in its hometown market.

Currently, Tribune’s Fox affiliation allows it to capitalize on the big NFL viewership numbers in negotiations with distributors such as cable companies. Tribune then kicks back a portion of those carriage fees to Fox.

Broadcasters, however, have been pressing their affiliates for larger kickbacks or risk having their lucrative network affiliations yanked, so the network can capture all of the revenue.

The Post said Tribune would get a MyNetworkTV affiliation in Chicago in the deal.

However, one person counseled that talks about the swap were continuing and that Tribune hadn’t completely signed off on the transaction. MyNetwork TV is owned by Fox, which in turn is owned by 21st Century Fox, run by Chase Carey.

Tribune also owns a “CW” affiliated station in the Chicago market.

Fox Television Stations, run by Jack Abernethy, houses 28 stations in 18 markets which according to Fox’s Web site covers 37.28 percent of US TV households. They include six duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, DC and Houston; as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix and Orlando.

Reps for Fox and Tribune Media declined comment.

Fox paid the NFL $1.1 billion per year for rights through 2022 and has been working hard to make-up that revenue via advertising and affiliate fees.