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CFUTV: NBC Sports Chicago Update

Posted on Monday, August 26, 2019

TV providers like Cedar Falls Utilities must negotiate with cable network owners for the rights to provide each network to our customers.

Recently, we have been working on your behalf to renew our contract to carry NBC Sports Chicago, CFU channel 31/HD431, and NBC Sports Chicago Plus, CFU channel 86/HD486 by September 30.

Starting in 2020, the network will no longer broadcast Chicago Cubs games. The Cubs have chosen to form their own independent network, the Cubs Marquee Sports Network. CFU is also negotiating a carriage agreement for the Cubs Marquee Network.

Even as they lose the Cubs games, NBC Sports Chicago is demanding a large monthly fee to provide the network to CFU customers. The offers we have received so far from NBC Sports Chicago would require us to raise cable rates to continue carrying the network. We are working to secure more reasonable terms.

We know that affordable service is important to you. While we very rarely drop channels, in this case we may stop carrying NBC Sports Chicago after September 30 based on customer interest and the outcome of our negotiations.

Thank you to all of our TV customers who took the time to fill out our TV channel survey in August. As we face increased programming costs across the cable lineup, we will continue to make community input the guiding force for CFU TV service.

For updates about the negotiations or to share your thoughts visit: cfu.net/NBCSports

Fighting for Fair Access to Sports Programming

Many people love watching sports and the sports executives know it – so the opportunity to watch the games comes at a premium. The NFL alone makes a little over $7 billion per year for broadcast and cable rights to air their games. Combine that with the MLB, NBA, NHL, college and other sports and you can quickly see the impact.

Escalating salaries of star players and coaches place large financial demands on teams and leagues who drive up the cost of programming rights to cover expenses. These costs are passed on from the cable networks to CFU.

Many teams, leagues and conferences have their own networks, such as the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Midwest, NBC Sports Chicago and the new Cubs Marquee Network. Each of these networks charge TV providers separate, additional fees. To maximize their profits, sports networks force us to include them in our Basic Plus package, instead of a sports tier for interested customers.

We believe that every TV viewer should have reasonable access to the games they want. We are fighting for this right.