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NFL Programming Information: Why FOX 17 won’t have a 1:00 p.m. football game

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The NFL regular season returns this week, and millions of fans will be tuning in in several different ways in several different venues, but one thing remains the same: some of the NFL TV network rules make viewers unhappy.  And that brings us to the reason for this story:

Due to NFL network broadcast rules, which affect the FOX and CBS broadcast schedules, FOX 17 will not be able to show the 1:00 p.m. network match-up between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, and will only be able to show the 4:00 p.m. “home market” game of the Detroit Lions and the San Diego Chargers.

Basically, the rules go like this: On Sundays during the season, either FOX or CBS get to air a doubleheader, both a 1:00 p.m. and a 4:00 p.m. game.  This week is CBS’s turn, so FOX stations only get one game.  Since the Detroit Lions are our “home market” team, that game is shown here.  Because the Lions are playing in the Pacific time zone and is considered a 4:00 p.m. Eastern game, we don’t get a 1:00 p.m. game.  Other markets, like Chicago, get to air the 1:00 p.m. game with the Bears but don’t get to air a 4:00 p.m. match-up.

The website 506sports.com publishes national color-coded maps each week for the week’s NFL games.  You can see that all of Michigan, northern Ohio, and for some reason the Kansas City area, gets to only see the Lions vs. Chargers on FOX. (Click on the photo to enlarge it)

From 506sports.com

From 506sports.com (Click to enlarge)

Viewers in Grand Rapids will get to see two games on CBS along with the Lions on FOX.  Before you say “big deal,” viewers in Chicago, Jacksonville and St. Louis won’t get an early CBS game or a FOX late game. (Click to enlarge)

NFL TV Map from 506sports.com

NFL TV Map from 506sports.com (Click to englarge)

So, for your viewing pleasure, FOX Sports is giving us German soccer: FC Bayern Munich vs. FC Augsburg at 2:00pm.  Since soccer doesn’t feel the need to resolve itself if there is a tie, it will be over by 4:00 p.m. for the Lions game.

Detroit Lions Game Day will air on FOX 17 at 11:00 a.m. and FOX NFL Sunday will air at noon.  There will be a couple of Modern Family episodes from 1:00 p.m. until the soccer match.

Other early NFL Fox games and late games are still available via the NFL Sunday Ticket subscription service and by visiting your local sports bar that also subscribes.

There is no need to call us on Sunday afternoon asking why we aren’t showing the NFL.  We can’t.  And in coming weeks, we will have doubleheaders and CBS won’t, so it will all even out in the end.


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  • Reggie

    Meh…NFL football is past its expiration date anyway. The only reason it still exists is because of fantasy leagues, NOT because it is an entertaining sport to watch anymore. That, coupled with the corrupt way it is run, have pretty much made everything else about it irrelevant.

    • Mark Whalen

      Yeah, the greed has pretty well ruined the game itself. That is true. I watch college ball, but I can see that even that is heading in the same direction.

  • Justin Case

    Considering all the TV revenue that can be had, it seems odd that the NFL would limit TV games. This can’t be about “butts in the seats”, can it?

    I would like to see the Bears/Packers, and it is not because of geography that I am not going to the game, it is the cost.

    • Mark Whalen

      The NFL will tell you that it is about butts in the seats, but they are the ones building bigger stadiums at a time when viewership continues to plummet. That is just plain stupid. With all the corruption, and less games on tv to sell advertising on, I don’t see how this can possibly benefit their bottom line in any way. Limiting broadcasts has never resulted in more people going to see games live. Never.

  • Bruce

    If my kids aren’t playing why watch, who cares about success of other people.. Makes no sense to me why people root for teams that could give a rip about them

    • Kevin Rahe

      Because sports is the new religion. Everyone has a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. For those who don’t know that they’re part of God’s family or who don’t let that reality manifest in their lives, they naturally look for something else to fill that space, and for many, sports is it.

      • jake

        This is the dumbest post i think ive ever read. Gods family? hahaha you sir are living in la la land. At least football is a real thing unlike your imaginary gods. I hope when you die and everything turns black that theres one last second of consciousness. Maybe youll realize. “oh, man what a complete waste of time that was”….

  • Raymond Buitron

    That still doesn’t clearly explain why both networks can’t air double headers simultaneously! Why would The NFL have in place such a disappointing rule?

  • JRJ

    Are you kidding me? It makes no sense at all to have rules like this. Cutting network broadcasts of games outside of the viewing area won’t increase ticket revenue and Chicago vs Green Bay is actually relevant to Lions fans as well. Nobody in the area cares about Miami and whoever they are playing at 1:00.

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