Iowa football fans who are Mediacom Cable subscribers will now be able to watch the Orange Bowl next Tuesday night in the comfort of their own homes. Sinclair Broadcast Group and Mediacom have agreed to an eight-day extension of their retransmission agreement that was to expire at midnight tonight.
If a deal had not been reached, Mediacom customers in Des Moines would have lost their Fox-TV affiliate and customers in Cedar Rapids would have lost both Fox and CBS stations. Mediacom spokesperson Phyllis Peters says the extension agreement followed a number of requests from government officials that the Federal Communications Commission get involved in the dispute.
“Over the next eight days, we’re going to work to reach a mutually agreeable contract just as we’ve been working hard to do over the last few months,” Peters said. “It’s just eight days, but it comes as a result of many leaders and officials from Iowan and elsewhere weighing in.”
Sinclair officials contend their channels are worth more money than Mediacom is willing to pay for retransmission rights. Peters says Sinclair used the Orange Bowl and other college bowl games as a way to gain negotiating leverage. “They didn’t really do themselves any good in using those tactics,” Peters said.
“But, thank goodness they were pressured enough by the FCC to say, yes, they will now demonstrate good faith negotiations by at least agreeing to an eight-day extension.” Mediacom has roughly 250,000 customers in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets.