Primary NFL television stations
A primary, flagship or home television station refers to the local affiliates that carry a majority of the regular season telecasts for a said National Football League (NFL) team. This list only concentrates on television coverage since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, and does not include "official station" partnerships where a station that only carries off-network pre-season games also carries team programming throughout the season such as coach's shows, player shows or interview segments during station sportscasts. It also does not include individual player show agreements with stations in a team's market.
From 1970-1993, CBS held the National Football Conference (NFC) package. Since 1994, the Fox Broadcasting Company has held the NFC package. Meanwhile, from 1970-1997, NBC held the American Football Conference (AFC) package. Since 1998, CBS has held the AFC package.
As the NFL assigns telecast rights based on the conference affiliation of the road team, the stations listed below would be assigned all of the team's road games (unless they were played at night). They would also carry those home games against teams in the same conference that did not fall under the league's blackout rules. Home games against teams from the other conference, if not blacked out, would be carried on another station. Night games are aired locally either on NBC if Sunday night (or the Thursday Kickoff Game), or on any local station if it is a simulcast of a game on a cable network (as per NFL rules, and subject to blackout; ESPN-aired games are often simulcast on the affiliate of sister network ABC, especially on ABC' O&Os and Hearst Corporation-owned stations—ESPN is an 80/20 joint venture of the Walt Disney Company [ABC's parent] and Hearst).
- Note: Teams listed in italics are teams that have since relocated.
American Football Conference
National Football Conference
U.S. television network affiliate switches of 1994
At the time of Fox's bid to claim the NFC package from CBS, most of its affiliates were lower-powered UHF stations. As Fox put together its new sports division to cover the NFL, it wanted to affiliate with VHF stations that had lower channel numbers (channels 2 to 13), more established histories, and carried more value with advertisers.
In the spring of 1994, months after completing the NFL contract, Fox agreed to purchase a 20 percent stake in New World Communications in a multi-million-dollar deal. The key to the deal was that Fox upgraded its affiliate stations in several markets. Before the deal, of the 14 NFC teams at the time, only four—the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins—were co-located with VHF Fox affiliates. The Fox stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. are three of the network's original six owned-and-operated outlets. The San Francisco affiliate, KTVU, has been owned by Cox Enterprises since 1964.
Most of the stations involved in the New World deal were located in markets with teams from the NFC, which for television purposes is considered the more valuable (in terms of television) of the two NFL conferences for a variety of reasons, mainly as nine of the ten largest television markets at the time had an NFC team. The lone exception being Boston, whose only NFL team, the New England Patriots, plays in the AFC. Also, most of the NFC teams existed before the formation of the old AFL in 1960, and therefore contain longer histories, rivalries and traditions. During this time, the NFC was also in the midst of a 13-game winning streak against the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Many of the stations slated that switched to Fox were CBS affiliates in markets where NFC teams were located, thus fans would continue to see at least their team's road games (and in many cases, Sunday afternoon home games against other NFC teams) on the same VHF stations that had been carrying the local NFL games since (in some instances) 1956.
In 1995, a year after the Fox switches, St. Louis received an NFC team when the Rams relocated from Los Angeles following the 1994 season, making KTVI the eighth station (and sixth in an NFC market) among the stations involved in the switchover and bringing the total number of NFC teams with VHF Fox affiliates to nine. That same year, the Carolina Panthers joined the NFL as an expansion team, which made WGHP another satellite "home" station for an NFL team as the Panthers are based in Charlotte, which is directly south of the Piedmont Triad region where WGHP is situated.
It should be noted that, because of the time it took for the FCC to approve the NewsCorp investment in New World (as well as waiting for affiliation contracts to expire), that some, "lame duck" affiliates actually carried the NFL on Fox games for most of the 1994 season. For example, most Cowboys games were on KDAF in Dallas and KBVO in Austin, and the Lions were seen on WKBD-TV, while WCGV-TV in Milwaukee carried Packers games until WITI's affiliation deal with CBS ended at the start of December 1994, the only break in WITI's carriage of team games since 1977, when that station took CBS affiliation. As late as the 1995 season, New Orleans Saints games were on WNOL, not WVUE.
Ironically, the New World deal actually led to the Kansas City Chiefs losing its primary station, WDAF-TV. The Chiefs would be relegated to UHF for four years on KSHB, before returning to VHF in 1998, with their games on KCTV.
The network affiliate switches also saw some longtime NBC affiliates move to CBS, and thus two of these stations would regain "home station" status when the AFC package moved to CBS in 1998 - these stations being WBZ-TV in Boston, and KCNC-TV in Denver (both now owned and operated by the CBS network).
Local preseason television coverage
Although several exhibition games are broadcast on television nationally, most exhibition games are in-house productions of the individual teams (often in association with a local broadcaster, typically the with rights to Thursday and Monday night games during the regular season; under the NFL's anti-siphoning policy, all away games and sold-out home games featuring the local team scheduled to air on the NFL Network or ESPN have the cable channel in question blacked out in the local market of that team, and the NFL sells the games to local broadcast stations only via broadcast syndication), and syndicated to other local stations in the region, which usually includes a coach's show package during the regular season. NFL Network also airs coverage of exhibition games, either live or tape delayed, switching between the home and visiting team feeds after halftime.
Exhibition games are almost exclusively played at night due to hot summer weather, and are frequently scheduled based on local convenience (e.g. games on the west coast tend to start at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET). The league's blackout restrictions apply, although stations are allowed to play the game on a tape delay if the game does not sell out (unlike the regular season policy, when rights revert to NFL Films). Many more exhibition games fail to sell out than do regular-season games.
During the preseason, most Buffalo Bills games are televised on Buffalo's ABC affiliate, WKBW-TV channel 7, with several other affiliates in western New York. These games are simulcast on sister stations WTVH in Syracuse, WICU in Erie, WHAM-TV in Rochester, and beginning in 2008, CITY-TV in Toronto. Ray Bentley, a former Bills linebacker, does play by play, while CBS analyst and former Bills special teams player Steve Tasker does color commentary on these games. WHAM-TV sports anchor Mike Catalana is the sideline reporter. Since 2008, preseason games have been broadcast in high definition.
In the event that regular season or, should the situation arise, postseason games are broadcast by a cable outlet (ESPN or NFL Network), the Bills' local broadcast outlet since the 2012 season has been WBBZ-TV, whose upstart sports department is under the supervision of former Empire Sports Network general manager Bob Koshinski.
Preseason Houston Texans games are telecast by KTRK, an ABC owned and operated station. Joel Meyers calls the preseason games on TV, with former Oilers running back Spencer Tillman providing color commentary.
Most preseason Tennessee Titans games are televised on WKRN, the ABC affiliate in Nashville. WKRN also airs a weekly show on Tuesday nights. The show, called 'Titans on 2', is hosted by Head Coach Mike Munchak and WKRN anchors John Dwyer, Cory Curtis, and Dawn Davenport. The show is an opportunity for the coach to talk about the team's latest matchup and looks forward to the upcoming match up. The show also features a different Titans player every week.
For regular season games, WTVF, the CBS affiliate for Nashville is the main station airing them.
Since the NFL returned to the CBS in 1998, a number of local CBS stations have been televising preseason football games, mostly including the network's graphics and production that viewers would normally see during regular season national/regional broadcasts.
A number of NFL teams and their broadcasting departments have teamed up with CBS Sports to produce games, and those teams include (As of 2010[update]) the San Diego Chargers (originating stations KCBS-TV Los Angeles and KFMB-TV San Diego), New York Jets (WCBS-TV New York), and Green Bay Packers (WGBA-TV Green Bay and co-flagship WTMJ-TV Milwaukee, NBC affiliates, though using NBC's graphics starting in 2012 rather than CBS's; the previous flagship had formerly been WFRV-TV, which was owned by CBS until 2007).
However, there are some that used a few, but not all, elements of the NFL on CBS production presentations, and they are mostly in-house productions between the teams and their individual flagship station. Those include the Pittsburgh Steelers (KDKA-TV), Miami Dolphins (WFOR-TV), San Francisco 49ers (KPIX and KOVR in Sacramento), Dallas Cowboys (KTVT), Cincinnati Bengals (WKRC-TV), Denver Broncos (KCNC), Kansas City Chiefs (KCTV), Washington Redskins (WUSA-TV), New England Patriots (WBZ-TV), Jacksonville Jaguars (WTEV), and the Detroit Lions (WWJ-TV)
WCBS, KCBS, KDKA, WFOR, KTVT, KPIX, KOVR, KCNC, WBZ, and WWJ are all owned by CBS Corporation.
As of the 2010 season, any Ravens preseason games not on national television are seen on WBAL-TV in Baltimore and on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network throughout the region. Sandusky, White and Ismail are also the television announcers. MASN also has extensive coverage of the team throughout the season, including postgame reports and the magazine show Ravens Wired. Ravens Wired, as well as Ravens Report and the regional preseason games, are produced by the Ravens in-house production department, RaveTV.
In terms of television broadcasting of regular season games, the Baltimore Ravens' primary station is CBS O&O WJZ-TV, which began broadcasting the team's games in 1998, and has broadcast both of their Super Bowl victories. Interconference home games usually appear on WBFF-TV (Fox), and primetime games on WBAL-TV.
Most preseason and regular season Cincinnati Bengals games, are telecast on WKRC-TV, Local 12, the CBS affiliate. The current TV announcers for preseason games are Brad Johansen play-by play, Anthony Munoz color commentary and Mike Valpredo sideline reporter. With the addition of Dan Hoard to the radio broadcast crew, Brad Johansen replaced Dan Hoard as the new TV play-by-play for preseason games. Games that feature an NFC opponent played at Paul Brown Stadium are televised on WXIX, Fox 19.
During preseason Jacksonville Jaguars games, telecasts not seen nationwide are shown on WTEV channel 47, the CBS affiliate. Since 2013, the announcers are Kevin Kugler and former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell with Tera Barz as field reporter. Regular season games televised nationally on cable networks are simulcasted locally on WJXT.
KCTV Channel 5 (CBS) broadcasts most Kansas City Chiefs regular season games, with exceptions as following. KCTV also broadcasts all Chiefs pre-season games. WDAF Channel 4 (Fox) broadcasts games in which the Chiefs host an NFC opponent. KSHB Channel 41 (NBC) broadcasts all games in which the Chiefs play on NBC Sunday Night Football or NBC's NFL playoffs coverage. KMBC Channel 9, an ABC affiliate owned by Hearst, has aired Monday Night Football games locally since 1970.
Prior to the 1994 season, WDAF was the primary station for the Chiefs as an NBC affiliate (they aired on KMBC when ABC had the AFL package through 1964), since NBC had the AFC package. The interconference home games aired on KCTV starting in 1973 (when the NFL allowed local telecasts of home games). After week one of the 1994 season, WDAF switched to Fox (which got the NFC package), and has aired the Chiefs' interconference home games since. The bulk of the team's games moved to KSHB through the end of the 1997 season. Since that time, they have aired on KCTV.
From their inaugural season in 1966 until the end of the 1988 season, the majority of the Miami Dolphins' games were carried on WSVN, as it was the Miami area's NBC affiliate (NBC carried the AFL/AFC package from 1965–97). In 1989, after NBC purchased CBS affiliate WTVJ (then on channel 4), NBC programming, and thus the Dolphins games, moved there. Prior to that time, WTVJ starting in 1973 aired sold-out Dolphins home games in which they played an NFC opponent (CBS had the NFC package at that time). From 1989 through 1993, those games would air on WCIX (then on channel 6), which was bought by CBS.
In 1994, the NFC package moved to Fox, and WSVN (which became the Fox affiliate after the network purchases of WTVJ and WCIX) starting airing the Dolphins' interconference home games. In 1998, the AFC package moved to CBS and, locally, the former WCIX, now known as WFOR (as it had swapped dial positions with WTVJ three years earlier).
WFOR produces the local telecasts of the Dolphins' preseason games, pre-empting CBS programming which is shown on sister station WBFS-TV. The preseason games are simulcast in the adjacent West Palm Beach television market on area CW affiliate WTVX, which was a sister station of WFOR from 1997 until 2008; all regular-season games are currently telecast by that market's CBS affiliate WPEC.
In August 2010, the team launched its own regional TV “network.” The Dolphins Television Network comprises 10 South Florida TV stations that agreed to carry the team-produced coverage. The English-language TV broadcasts for preseason are called by Dick Stockton with Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese and former Dolphin Nat Moore.
Any preseason New England Patriots games not on national television are shown on CBS affiliate WBZ-TV, who also airs the bulk of Patriots regular season games by virtue of CBS having the rights to most AFC games. These games were broadcast on ABC affiliate WCVB-TV from 1995 until the change to WBZ in 2009. Don Criqui has been the play-by-play announcer the last several years, with Randy Cross as a color commentator and Mike Lynch as a sideline reporter. Lynch was replaced by WBZ reporter Steve Burton in 2009.
Any preseason New York Jets games not nationally televised are shown on WCBS-TV. SportsNet New York, which serves as the official home of the Jets, airs over 250 hours of "exclusive, in depth" material on the team in high definition.
Pre-season Pittsburgh Steelers games not shown on one of the national broadcasters are seen on CBS O&O KDKA-TV, channel 2; sister CW O&O WPCW, channel 19; and Root Sports Pittsburgh. KDKA-TV's Bob Pompeani and former Steelers lineman Edmund Nelson do the announcing for the pre-season games, as well as the two hosting the pre-game program Steelers Kickoff during the regular season prior to the national airing of The NFL Today. The two also host the Steelers Postgame Extra following the game on days when CBS does not have that week's NFL doubleheader. Coach Mike Tomlin's weekly press conference is shown live on Root Sports Pittsburgh.
National NFL Network broadcasts are shown locally on KDKA-TV or sister station WPCW (which shows KDKA-TV's normal CBS programming when KDKA shows the game, during which normal CW programming is pre-empted), while national ESPN broadcasts are shown locally on WTAE-TV, channel 4. (WTAE-TV is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which owns a 20% stake in ESPN.) By virtue of being members of the AFC, most of the Steelers' games air on CBS except for home games against NFC opponents, which air locally on WPGH-TV, which is a Fox affiliate.
The 49ers are a beneficiary of league scheduling policies. Both the 49ers and the Oakland Raiders share the San Francisco Bay Area market, and said market is on the West Coast of the United States. This means that the 49ers cannot play home games or most division games in the early 10:00 am Pacific time slot, nor can they play interconference home games at the same time or network as the Raiders. As a result, both teams generally have more limited scheduling options, and also benefit by receiving more prime time games than usual (click here for further information). Thus, regardless of the previous season's record, the 49ers receive a disproportionate number of Sunday might, Monday night and/or Thursday night games, compared to the rest of the league.
While regular season and post-season Tampa Bay Buccaneers games in the NFL are all broadcast by national television contracts on CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network, the television broadcasts are for the most part handled by the individual teams. Effective with the 2011 season, preseason games not picked up for national broadcast are seen on WTSP Channel 10. WFTV Channel 9 simulcasts the broadcast in the Orlando area.
CBS, Fox and NBC games are shown respectively in Tampa Bay on WTSP, WTVT channel 13 and WFLA Channel 8, while they are shown respectively in Orlando on WKMG, WOFL and WESH. Monday Night Football games are simulcast locally on WFTS. Previously, NFL Network games were seen locally on WFLA-TV.
WFLA was the previous home to Buccaneer preseason games, where they have been televised from 2003 to 2010. At WFLA, Chris Myers was the play-by-play announcer with John Lynch as color commentator. Both Myers and Lynch work nationally with Fox Sports. Ron Jaworski previously served as color commentator, until he signed with MNF for 2007. Charles Davis also served as color commentator from 2007 to 2008.
WTOG channel 44 also previously broadcast Buccaneer preseason games for many years, ending in 2002. Former CBS play-by-play and ESPN golf broadcaster Jim Kelly was the play-by-play announcer for many of those games in the 1980s, and Joe Namath was a commentator.
In the early years of the franchise, WTVT, then a CBS affiliate, broadcast some Buccaneer preseason games. Sports anchor Andy Hardy handled the play-by-play, and for one game in 1978, his broadcast partner was his friend, Florida State alumni and movie actor Burt Reynolds.
The Carolina Panthers also have a television network, the Carolina Panthers Television Network, which originates from flagship station CW affiliate WCCB. The network covers preseason games that are not nationally televised with play-by-play commentator, Mike Morgan, color commentator Mike Rucker, and sideline reporter Pete Yanity. The television network also hosts Panthers Huddle, a weekly show focusing on the Panthers' upcoming opponent. Panthers Gameday (hosted by Greg Bailey and former Panthers safety Mike Minter), the Panthers' postgame show, is hosted on WCNC-TV. As of the 2013 season, Fox NFL games will be seen on Fox's new owned and operated station, WJZY.
Fox affiliate WAGA-TV aired most Atlanta Falcons preseason games through the 2004 season. WAGA continues to have a relationship with the Falcons as their primary broadcaster of regular season games (serving in this capacity since the Falcons started play), which dates back to when WAGA was a CBS affiliate and the NFL/NFC games were on CBS. WATL aired most Falcons games in 1994, as WAGA did not switch to Fox until December 1994.
Atlanta Falcons fans are more prevalent in western North Carolina due to the fact the Carolina Panthers only existed since 1996. Historically, they can be found generally west of Interstate 26 from Asheville to Murphy. East of Interstate 26 is considered a neutral zone, but the majority are Carolina Panthers fans.
The Chicago Bears' current preseason TV announcers on WFLD (channel 32), which also carries the majority of the team's regular season games through the NFL on Fox, are Sam Rosen (play-by-play), Erik Kramer (color commentary) and Lou Canellis (sideline reporter).
Most New Orleans preseason games are televised on Cox Sports Television and WVUE (Channel 8), a station which has been owned by a consortium led by Saints owner Tom Benson since mid-2008, and, as the Fox affiliate for New Orleans, carries the majority of Saints games; both stations also carry a heavy complement of coach and player shows. Tim Brando and Solomon Wilcots call the preseason action.
Oakland Raiders' games are broadcast locally on CBS affiliate KPIX (when playing an AFC opponent) and on Fox affiliate KTVU (when hosting an NFC opponent), unless the game is blacked out locally. The preseason games are aired on KTVU (road games) or KICU (home games).
The Raiders are a beneficiary of league scheduling policies. Both the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers share the San Francisco Bay Area market, and said market is on the West Coast of the United States. This means that the Raiders cannot play home games or most division games in the early 10:00 a.m. Pacific time slot, nor can they play interconference home games at the same time or network as the 49ers. As a result, both teams generally have more limited scheduling options, and also benefit by receiving more prime time games than usual (click here for further information).
Preseason Indianapolis Colts games not shown on national television were seen locally on WTTV-4, Indiana's 4. Beginning in 2011, the preseason games will be shown on WNDY-23 except for those carried nationally by the networks. Indiana Hoosiers announcer Don Fischer provides play-by-play. Regular-season Monday night games are simulcast on WNDY-23 and those from NFL Network on simulcasted on an approved station announced by NFL Network which has been WTHR-13 and WXIN-59 in the past with FOX 59 simulcasting the latest games in 2010.
Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC channel 3 is the broadcast TV home of the Cleveland Browns, airing all non-network preseason games, and other Browns related programming during the season. Jim Donovan and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar comprise the announcing team, with WKYC sports reporter Dave Chudowski on the sidelines (WKNR host Michael Reghi serves as radio play by play announcer during the preseason).
Until 2010, preseason Denver Broncos games not selected for airing on national television were shown on KCNC, channel 4, which is a CBS owned-and-operated station, as well as other CBS affiliates around the Rocky Mountain region. On May 26, 2011, the Broncos announced that KUSA channel 9, an NBC affiliate also known as 9NEWS in the Rocky Mountain region, will be the team's new television partner for preseason games.
The TV rights for pre-season Green Bay Packers games not nationally broadcast are held by Journal Broadcast Group stations WGBA-TV (Channel 26) in Green Bay and WTMJ (Channel 4) in Milwaukee, along with Quincy Newspapers' six ABC stations in the central, northern and western parts of the state, KQDS-TV (Channel 21) in Duluth-Superior, and in Escanaba/Marquette, Michigan, WLUC-TV (Channel 6), along with their Fox subchannel. As such, these stations are all allowed to use the tagline Your official Packers station in their market area by the team, and also carry the weekly coach's show hosted by WTMJ-TV's Jessie Garcia, The Mike McCarthy Show on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm throughout the football season. Until the end of the 2011 season, the team's partner in Green Bay was WFRV-TV (Channel 5), and sister satellite WJMN-TV in Escanaba. As part of the 2012 deal, McCarren resigned his duties as sports director of WFRV to move to WTMJ/WGBA as a Packers analyst, becoming WGBA's official sports director on April 1, 2013 as his non-compete clause to appear as a sports anchor in Green Bay expired.
The 2012 TV rights deal expanded the team's preseason network further across the Midwest. Additional stations include the Quad Cities region of Iowa/Illinois (whose coverage area stretches into the southwest corner of Wisconsin), where game coverage is carried by KLJB (Channel 18) in Davenport, Iowa and KGCW (Channel 26) in Burlington, Iowa, both owned by Grant Broadcasting System II, KCWI-TV (Channel 23) in Des Moines, and in Omaha, Nebraska, KMTV-TV (Channel 3), a sister Journal station to WTMJ and WGBA. As part of a large package of preseason football from various team networks, KFVE (Channel 9) in Honolulu, Hawaii also carried Packers state network games in the 2012 preseason. The network also added its first affiliate with Spanish language play-by-play, Milwaukee's WYTU-LD (Channel 63/49.4), a Telemundo affiliate, which airs statewide on the cable systems of Charter Communications and throughout Time Warner Cable's eastern Wisconsin systems, including Green Bay.
Pre-season coverage was produced by CBS, formerly using the NFL on CBS graphics package until the last contract ended as a renmant of WFRV's former ownership by the CBS Corporation itself until 2007. In 2012, the pre-season coverage began to use the NBC Sports Sunday Night Football graphics package due to WTMJ/WGBA's NBC affiliation. The TV play-by-play announcer, Kevin Harlan (also on loan from CBS), is the son of former Packers president Bob Harlan, with Rich Gannon joining him as color commentator. Since the 2008 pre-season all of the Packers preseason games on the statewide network are produced and aired in high definition, with WTMJ-TV subcontracting the games to minor network affiliates in Milwaukee during Summer Olympics years due to mandatory non-preemption policies by their network, NBC (this was not done in 2012 as the pre-season opener was a national ESPN game).
ESPN Monday Night Football games, both pre-season and season, are broadcast over the air on ABC affiliates WBAY-TV (Channel 2) in Green Bay and WISN-TV (Channel 12) in Milwaukee, while the stations airing Packers games in the NFL Network Thursday Night Football package have varied. WBAY's evening news anchor Bill Jartz also serves as the public address system announcer for Lambeau Field.
The team's intra-squad Lambeau scrimmage at the beginning of the season, marketed as Packers Family Night, is broadcast by WITI (Channel 6) in Milwaukee, and produced by WLUK (Channel 11) in Green Bay, both Fox affiliates which broadcast the bulk of the team's regular-season games. The scrimmage is also broadcast by the state's other Fox affiliates. It was aired for the first time in 2011 in high definition.
- List of CBS television affiliates (by U.S. state)
- List of NBC television affiliates (by U.S. state)
- List of Fox television affiliates (by U.S. state)
- NFL on television#Blackout policies
Over-the-air TV sports broadcasters
- Historical Major League Baseball over-the-air television broadcasters
- Historical NBA over-the-air television broadcasters
- Historical NHL over-the-air television broadcasters
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