Stations prepare for NFL, keep fingers crossed


The NFL lockout continues, although various news outlets report that talks between the owners and the players union have quietly resumed in secret. Many TV stations have a lot riding on the pro football season and they’re moving ahead with plans – and hoping they actually happen.

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Gannett’s KARE-TV is the NBC affiliate and thus has “Sunday Night Football.” That is, assuming that the season actually takes place.

But the games that matter most for Minnesota viewers are those which involve the Minnesota Vikings. And while all Vikings games are a big deal in the Twin Cities, none is bigger than when the hometown team takes on the arch rival Green Bay Packers, the defending Super Bowl champs.

The Vikings are scheduled to play the Packers in Green Bay on November 14 as the “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN. But with the game on cable, a broadcast station in each team’s home market can carry the game on free TV. KARE has nailed down the rights in the Twin Cities.

“We are pleased to bring this game to our viewers. There are so many Vikings and even Packers fans in our audience,” said John Remes, KARE President and General Manager. “This game has been historically one of the highest rated Vikings games each season, drawing Super Bowl-like audiences,” he added.

KARE’s announcement noted that The Vikings vs. Packers game that aired on NBC on Sunday, October 24, 2010 had a household rating of 51.5 for KARE. The Super Bowl, Sunday, February 6, 2011 on Fox, earned a household rating of 54.1 for KMSP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul.

RBR-TVBR observation: Our recent RBR-TVBR readers’ poll was generally upbeat about the prospects for the next NFL season taking place, although opinions were split between whether to expect a full season or an abbreviated one. While the team owners and players have a lot riding on reaching an agreement, broadcasters also have a lot riding on the outcome of their negotiations – and nothing they can do but watch from the sidelines.