Feel free to post these maps in any discussion boards, etc. I prefer that you "hotlink" these maps instead of saving them as attachments because they can and do change during the week. Also, please credit this site as the source.
Previous Years: 2005
Info and FAQ's
I am not affiliated with CBS, Fox, any of their local stations or affiliates, or the NFL in any way. I'm just a fan (a Patriots fan, thank you very much :)) interested in what games are shown where. At first this page was only posted to a couple of TV message boards, but this season many people have posted it to more general football boards where people aren't as knowledgeable of the NFL's TV rules. After reading some of the pages where these maps have been posted, I've noticed some questions coming up over and over again, which I have attempted to answer below.
Where do you get your data?
Same place you would. I get info from titantv.com (which has a customizable lineup so I can see all CBS stations on one page), with tv.yahoo.com filling in some gaps. foxsports.com also has a list of affiliates with their games.
When are the maps updated?
Usually Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon for that weekend's games. Updates and corrections on Friday if needed.
What do the white areas mean?
Welcome to the world of blackout rules. The short answer is: no game at all. This can be due to one of two rules: a) no games can air at the same time as a local team's home game on another network, or b) if a game is blacked out because it doesn't sell out, the network with the doubleheader can only show one game. Donít shoot the messenger, I think the rules are stupid too.
So what exactly are the blackout rules?
The short answer: If a game doesn't sell out within 72 hours of kickoff, there is no local television broadcast. "Local" in this case is defined as anywhere within 75 miles from the stadium. If a station from outside that 75-mile zone has any part of its coverage area crossing over, it gets blacked out too. This is why virtually all of Arizona, for instance, gets blacked out of Cardinals games. If a team comes close to selling out, the NFL can grant a 24-hour extension.
Who decides what games get shown in my area?
The networks, with some guidance from the NFL. The league sets "primary markets" and "secondary markets" for most teams, and those markets are required to show all road games involving the "local" team. Primary markets are required to air home games too, unless they don't sell out. The "primary market" is the market in which the team is physically located (i.e. Boston for the Patriots). The "secondary markets" are adjoining markets assigned at the discretion of the league (again using the Patriots example, Providence and Portland ME). Secondary markets are not required to air home games, and if there's another team nearby, they don't.
Harrisburg PA is a good example. Because Baltimore is the closest team, the NFL has designated it a Ravens secondary market. However, the stations there have noticed there are more Steelers fans. So the CBS affiliate there, despite having to air Ravens *road* games in case of a Steelers conflict (and enduring the wrath of the local fans every time it happens), they do air the Steelers whenever the Ravens play at *home*.
Outside of these primary and secondary markets, and even in them if the local team isn't playing, the network is the sole arbiter of what game gets shown where, but usually after taking input from the local affiliates. Affiliates can request a particular game be shown to their market, and the network will (usually) agree unless it runs against the secondary market rules. The CBS affiliate in Orlando in 2005, after several desperate attempts, couldn't show a Dolphins-Buccaneers game because, for some reason, the NFL said Orlando is a Jaguars market.
Not all markets are designated by one team or another as a secondary market, usually only the ones closest to the stadium (i.e. the ones that would be blacked out if not a sellout). Other markets can air one teamís games more often than not, but that rule isnít set in stone. Some stats about airing patterns in the 2005 season can be found here.
As I said earlier, stations in the 32 team markets are not allowed to air a game if the other network has a local team's home game at the same time. Instead, they have to air one in the other timeslot. The rule does not specifically apply if the local team is on the road, but that's on the doubleheader network, the singleheader network usually airs a game in the opposite timeslot. This is usually how those *****-Texans duds end up on the air in Cleveland.
How come these tiny specks in Nebraska are getting a different game?
One of two reasons: Sometimes a popular player is from a certain area, so the local station there likes to show as many games of his team as possible. This is especially true in college towns. The other reason has to do with the Fox network. Since it's a newer, smaller network, it doesn't have as many affiliates as CBS, ABC or NBC. So there is a national satellite feed called FoxNet that is distributed to cable companies in the smallest markets and other remote areas, which usually carries Fox's national game. I've tried to show as many areas that carry FoxNet as I can on the maps. Update: Effective Sept. 13, 2006, FoxNet has been discontinued.. So I canít use that excuse anymore.
What about Canada?
If you're in Canada you get your CBS and Fox directly from a local station somewhere in the US - if you're not sure where, this website has cable lineups for all major cities. For those with satellite: Bell ExpressVu carries Boston and Seattle channels; StarChoice gives you a choice between Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle or Spokane. As for Global (shudder), they post a list of televised games on their website. For next year I might make up maps for Canada as well.
Any more questions? Corrections? Send me an e-mail.
(c) 2005-06 J.P. Kirby