Fox And Tribune Call Off Their NFL-Related TV Battle For Seattle

The Seattle Seahawks, as well as The Simpsons, will remain on Tribune Media’s KCPQ after it announced this morning that 21st Century Fox has extended its affiliation agreement with the station through July 2018. Last month Fox said that it would withdraw its programming on January 17. It wanted more lucrative terms from – or possibly to buy – the station in the home of the NFL’s 2014 Super Bowl champions.

Tribune says that it will “pay additional programming fees to Fox for the prime time and sports content provided by the network” beginning in January. Even so, over the life of the new contract the station will generate average annual cash flow “in excess” of the $13M Tribune reported for it last year, it says. That suggests Tribune sees opportunities to raise the fees it charges cable and satellite companies that carry the station. Company shares, which trade over the counter, are up 7% this morning.

“Tribune is not only Fox’s largest local affiliate group, but also has a far-reaching business partnership with Fox a nearly 20 syndicated programs as well as Salem, a WGN America original series,” Tribune CEO Peter Liguori says.

Fox seemed to buttress its threat to drop KCPQ last month when it agreed to pay $10M for KBCB, a station in Bellingham that now offers home shopping programming.

The football related showdown in Seattle mirrored a recent one involving CBS and Indianapolis. The network shifted its affiliation to Tribune’s WTTV after offered better terms than LIN’s WISH, which had carried CBS for 58 years.



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