Retrans Blackouts Affecting NCAA Tournament Watchers

By Kevin Eck 

Sports fans hoping to watch the NCAA tournament in certain markets may have trouble updating their brackets.

Raycom is blacked out on AT&T U-Verse over retrans fees, affecting six CBS affiliates, while Hearst, which has two CBS affiliates affected (WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky and KCCI in DesMoines), is blacked out on DISH Network.

Raycom points its corporate finger directly at DirecTV, saying its the fifth time service by AT&T U-Verse has been pulled since its merger with DirecTV in July 2015. Raycom says before the merger, it had no signal disruptions during retransmission negotiations.


CBS affiliates started airing the first and second rounds of the tournament today.

“We never want our communities to experience a disruption,” said Pat LaPlatney, Raycom Media President and CEO. “These retransmission consent agreements are important free-market negotiations that sustain broadcast localism. It is unfortunate that AT&T U-Verse appears to be involving their customers in their broader business strategy.”