Primary NFL television stations

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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. This list however, 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.

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's 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[edit]

From 19701997, NBC held the American Football Conference (AFC) package. Since 1998, CBS has held the AFC package.

Team Stations Years
Baltimore Colts WBAL 11
WMAR 2 (Now ABC)
19701980
19811983
Baltimore Ravens WBAL 11
WJZ 131
19961997
1998–present
Buffalo Bills WGRZ 2 (known as WGR from 19701983)
WIVB 4
CITY 57 (for Bills Toronto Series)
19701997
1998–present
20082013
Cleveland Browns WKYC 3
WOIO 19
19701995
1999–present
Cincinnati Bengals WLWT 5
WKRC 12
19701997
1998–present
Denver Broncos KCNC 4 (known as KOA from 19701983)1
KUSA 9
19701995 (Week 1 only); 1998–present
1995 (beginning in Week 2)–1997
Houston Oilers KPRC 2 19701996
Houston Texans KHOU 11 2002–present
Indianapolis Colts WTHR 13
WISH 8 (Now CW)
WTTV 4
19841997
19982014
2015–present
Jacksonville Jaguars WTLV 12
WJXT 4 (Now Independent)
WJAX 47 (known as WTEV-TV from 20022014)
19951997
19982001
2002–present
Kansas City Chiefs WDAF 4 (Now Fox)
KSHB 41
KCTV 5
1970–Week 2 of 1994 season
Week 3 of 1994 season1997
1998–present
Las Vegas Raiders KLAS 8 2020-future
Los Angeles Raiders KNBC 43 19821994
Los Angeles Chargers KCBS 21 2017–present
Miami Dolphins WSVN 7 (Now Fox) (known as WCKT from 19701983)
WTVJ 6 (Channel 4 from 1989–Week 1 of 1995 season)
WFOR 41
19701988
19891997
1998–present
New England Patriots WBZ 41
WHDH 7 (Now Independent)
19701994; 1998–present
19951997
New York Jets WNBC 43
WCBS 21
19701997
1998–present
Oakland Raiders KRON 4 (Now MyNetworkTV)
KPIX 51
19701981; 19951997
19982019
Pittsburgh Steelers WPXI 11 (known as WIIC from 19701981)
KDKA 21
19701997
1998–present
San Diego Chargers KGTV 10 (Now ABC)
KNSD 39 (known as KCST from 19771988)3
KFMB 8
19701976
19771997
19982016
Seattle Seahawks KING 5
KIRO 7
19771997
19982001
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WFLA 8 1976
Tennessee Oilers/Titans WMC 5 (Memphis)
WTVF 5
1997
1998–present

National Football Conference[edit]

From 19701993, CBS held the National Football Conference (NFC) package. Since 1994, the Fox Broadcasting Company has held the NFC package.

Team Stations Years
Atlanta Falcons WAGA 52
WATL 36 (Later WB; now MyNetworkTV)
19701993; 1994 (beginning in Week 16)–present
1994 (Weeks 1-15)
Carolina Panthers WHNS 21 (Greenville (Clemson), South Carolina)
WCCB 18 (Now CW)
WJZY 462
1995
19962012
2013–present
Chicago Bears WBBM 21
WFLD 322
WCCU 27 (Champaign, Illinois)
19701993
19942001; 2003–present
2002
Dallas Cowboys KDFW 42
KDAF 33 (Later WB; now CW)
19701993; 1995–present
1994
Detroit Lions WJBK 22
WKBD 50 (Later UPN; now CW)
19701993; 1994 (beginning in Week 16)–present
1994 (Weeks 1-15)
Green Bay Packers WBAY 2 (Now ABC)
WFRV 5
WGBA 26 (Now NBC)
WLUK 11
WISN 12 (Now ABC) (Milwaukee)
WITI 6 (Milwaukee)
WCGV 24 (Later UPN; now MyNetworkTV) (Now WVTV-DT2) (Milwaukee)
19701991
19921993
1994
1995–present
19701976
19771993; 1994 (beginning in Week 15)–present
1994 (Weeks 1-14)
Los Angeles Rams KCBS 2 (known as KNXT from 19701983)1
KTTV 112
19701993
1994; 2016–present
Minnesota Vikings WCCO 41
WFTC 29 (Later UPN; now MyNetworkTV) (known as KITN in September 1994)
KMSP 92
19701993
19942001
2002–present
New Orleans Saints WWL 4
WNOL 38 (Later WB; now CW)
WVUE 8
WGMB 44 (Baton Rouge)/KABB 29 (San Antonio)
19701993
19941995
19962004; 2006–present
2005
New York Giants WCBS 21
WTIC 3 (Now WFSB) (Hartford)
WNYW 52
1970–Week 3 of 1973 season; 19751993
Week 4 of 1973 season1974
1994–present
Philadelphia Eagles WCAU 10 (Now NBC)3
WTXF 292
19701993
1994–present
Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals KSAZ 10 (known as KTSP from 19881993)2
KNXV 15 (Now ABC)
19881993; 1994 (beginning in Week 16)–present
1994 (Weeks 1-15)
San Francisco 49ers KPIX 51
KTVU 22
19701993
1994–present
Seattle Seahawks KIRO 7 (Later UPN; now CBS again)
KCPQ 13
1976
2002–present
St. Louis Cardinals KMOV 4 (known as KMOX from 19701986) 19701987
St. Louis Rams KTVI 2 19952015
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WTVT 132
WFTS 28 (Now ABC)
19771993; 1994 (beginning in Week 16)–present
1994 (Weeks 1-15)
Washington Redskins WUSA 9 (known as WTOP from 19701978 and WDVM from 19781986)
WTTG 52
19701993
1994–present

1CBS owned television station.

2Fox owned television station.

3NBC owned television station.

See also

U.S. television network affiliate switches of 1994[edit]

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 multimillion-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, was owned by Cox Enterprises from 1964 until bought by Fox in the summer of 2014.

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.

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[edit]

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 with the 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.

See also[edit]

Affiliates

Over-the-air TV sports broadcasters

References[edit]

External links[edit]