DirecTV/NextStar dispute keeps Colorado Women’s World Cup viewers in dark

Last Updated on July 22, 2023 by Admin


Sports fans and sports bars across the Front Range have gotten used to carriage disputes that have denied viewers a chance to watch marquee events on television.

Now it’s affecting the Women’s World Cup, with matches broadcast on KDVR-31 blacked out for DirecTV subscribers, including Friday night’s United States Women’s National Team opening match against Vietnam.

The local Fox affiliate is one of many stations owned by NexStar Media Group that have been unavailable on DirecTV since July 3 due to a carriage dispute.

Fox and FS1 have been the home of English-language broadcasts for the Women’s World Cup dating back to 2015, and the Men’s World Cup since 2018. At least 18 group-stage games and two Round of 16 matchups will be broadcast on Fox, in addition to everything from the quarterfinals on.

Area soccer fans are finding different ways to work around the inconvenience, most notably by tuning into Telemundo (KDEN-25) or the steaming service Peacock, which have the Spanish-language broadcast rights. Others are watching Fox and Telemundo over the air via TV antennas.

“DirecTV (is too expensive),” said Juan Fernandez, a regular Centennial 38 supporter at Rapids games. “So I bought Peacock ’cause it was the fastest way to watch it in Spanish.”

Sports fan Brent Imbus watched almost the entire 2022 men’s tournament on Telemundo and plans to do the same with the women’s tournament this year. A big reason why, he said is that the passion of the broadcasters comes through way more clearly than the English-language.

“I’m pretty burned out with carrier disputes (like the one between Comcast and Altitude). (It) seems like we’re going to experience this more and more,” he tweeted. “There’s really only two or three big players in television so people are going have to keep ping-ponging back and forth between them all.”

Switching to the Spanish-language broadcast is something a few bars plan on doing, too — including Road 34 in Fort Collins, close to where Sophia Smith grew up in Windsor.

“The biggest thing on TV this summer is the World Cup and the U.S. women are also playing on Telemundo, fortunately, not just on Fox,” said Schuyler Gantert, the bar’s owner. “Personally, I find the Spanish broadcast is a little bit better at the bar. It’s more animated, a bit more lively. We’ll see what customers say but the big moments will be big moments, regardless of what language it’s in.”


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