Why can’t I watch my favorite NFL team?
Why isn’t the Eagles/Steelers/Giants game on?
We understand your frustration. Carriage rights for football games are complicated, and vary by area based on a number of factors.
Some NFL games air nationally, such as those games on Sunday, Monday, or Thursday Night Football. The rights to Sunday afternoon games are held by CBS and FOX. Which team(s) your local CBS or FOX affiliate carries depends on your region, or local market. Generally, CBS has the rights to the AFC, and FOX has the rights to the NFC, with your local affiliate prioritizing your most local team. In the Blue Ridge service area, the local team is usually the Philadelphia Eagles or Pittsburgh Steelers, but residents of Pike County fall into the New York market, and therefore will see Giants or Jets games given priority. Tioga County residents may sometimes receive Buffalo Bills games instead.
However, those channels still do not air every game their respective teams play. In the event of inter-conference games, the channels air their teams’ away games. This means that an AFC team visiting an NFC team will air on CBS, and an NFC team visiting an AFC team will air on FOX. The NFL has also instituted flexible scheduling, whereby a game may be swapped from Sunday afternoon to a national airing on Sunday night, which could contradict those rules.
As an example, in the 2020 season, two Philadelphia Eagles games did not air in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market area. In both cases, the Eagles (NFC) were the home team against AFC teams, so CBS held the rights to those games. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers played at the same time, in AFC vs. AFC games, so CBS also had the rights. The local CBS affiliate, WYOU, prioritized the local AFC team, and therefore carried the Steelers instead of the Eagles.
How do I watch out-of-market games?
Can I order the NFL Sunday Ticket from Blue Ridge?
If your favorite team originates outside your local market--- the Cleveland Browns or Las Vegas Raiders, for example—you may find yourself at the mercy of the NFL schedule. At least three games air on Sunday afternoons, so additional games featuring non-local teams may air, depending on regional or national interest. Your favorite team may also appear in a nationally-televised game, such as Sunday Night Football (NBC), Monday Night Football (ESPN), or Thursday Night Football (NFL Network).
NFL Sunday Ticket would allow you to watch out-of-market games from your favorite team, but unfortunately Blue Ridge does not have the rights to this package. DirecTV pays approximately $1.5 billion per year for exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, a contract which lasts through the 2022 season. DirecTV’s pricing for this package starts at $294.94 per season.
Blue Ridge offers NFL RedZone on our Premier package. That channel broadcasts on Sunday afternoons to show touchdowns, red zone plays, and exciting moments, jumping from game to game. NFL Network, available with Basic Plus HD, also airs highlights of each game on Sundays, and broadcasts replays of select in- and out-of-market games throughout the week.
The NFL also offers the NFL Game Pass streaming service, with which subscribers can watch replays of NFL games, in addition to other NFL content. The games cannot be watched live, but become available to stream as soon as their live telecast ends. Game Pass does offer live radio broadcasts of games.