Bars looking for solutions to looming Super Bowl blackout

Many bars in Boston subscribe to DIRECTV and are facing the devastating possibility of not being able to air the Super Bowl because of the standoff between the satellite provider and local stations.

Sunbeam Television Corp. — owner of WHDH-TV (Channel 7) and WLVI-TV (Channel 56) — on Jan. 14 blacked out its stations on DIRECTV because of a dispute over the fees the satellite company pays to Sunbeam for the rights to carry its programming. NBC is carrying the Super Bowl this year and the local NBC affiliate is WHDH-TV.

Bars such as the Pour House on Boylston Street consider Super Bowl Sunday a major moneymaker, and managers are “freaking out” that a resolution may not be reached in time.

“We have no idea what we are going to do. We are freaking out. For whatever reason they have decided not to show the Super Bowl, it’s going to screw us,” said Hillary Branyik, a manager at the Pour House.

Restaurants with cable and antenna service instead of satellite are hoping to gain a competitive edge.
“I think it’ll get resolved by the time the Super Bowl comes on. … If it didn’t, we would definitely benefit,” said Maria Terranova, owner of Mike’s Food & Spirits.

Politicians urge solution

Earlier this week Sen. John Kerry sent a letter to Sunbeam and DIRECTV urging them to hash out an agreement so local viewers wouldn’t be shut out of the Super Bowl.

DIRECTV released a statement Tuesday saying they would restore Sunbeam programming while negotiations continue if Sunbeam agrees.

Sunbeam officials could not be reached for comment but recently told the Herald it is concerned about restoring programming without a resolution. 


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