Sports Outside the Beltway

Here we go again- Lack of cable deal will affect Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s the team’s fans that are seeing the plug pulled. From the St. Petersburg Times-

By now, most folks know it’s possible that Fox channels will not be seen on Bright House Networks if a new contract is not reached before midnight Thursday.

While fans worry about missing NFL playoff and BCS bowl games on Fox (locally, Ch. 13), there are other local fans who could be affected. If a deal between Fox and Time Warner Cable, which oversees content for Bright House, is not reached, Lightning and Magic games will disappear as well. Those games are on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida, which are owned by Fox.

“Obviously, we are keenly interested observers on this one, and we hope that Fox and Time Warner can get something done to prevent any programming from being lost in viewers’ homes,” said Bill Wickett, Lightning executive VP/communications. “We are concerned for Lightning fans and will continue to monitor the situation closely but have confidence that the companies will work hard to reach a deal before the deadline.”

The first Lightning game that could be affected is Jan. 2 against the Penguins. Fox isn’t hopeful a deal will be reached in time.

Lightning fans better not hold their breaths. It was four months ago that the dispute between Directv and Versus ratcheted up with the satellite service no longer airing the channel that broadcasts weekly NHL games, WAC football, and other sports. The dispute still hasn’t been settled and who knows if Fox-Time Warner fight will drag on just as long.

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