In an effort to avoid missing any more NFL and college football games, Nexstar Media Group and DirecTV have agreed to return TV stations to DirecTV pay TV homes, while both companies continue to negotiate a renewal carriage agreement.
“Given the large number of local stations and metro areas involved, we’re working to restore the signals across our platforms on a rolling station-by-station basis,” according to a joint statement from the companies on Sunday.
“Our goal is to stand up the stations showing Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening football games first.”
The blackout of Nexstar TV stations, which also included its cable TV news network, NewsNation, began over two months ago on July 2.
Nexstar is the largest U.S. TV station owner, with 159 owned TV stations that are network affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and CW broadcast networks.
It also has 30 partnered TV stations, a 70% majority interest in the broadcast network The CW, locally based digital multicast networks Antenna TV and Rewind TV and a 31.3% ownership stake in TV Food Network.
DirecTV has an estimated 12.8 million total U.S. pay TV subscribers for its pay TV brands DirecTV (satellite), DirecTV Stream (virtual) and U-verse (telco).
Over the past five years, DirecTV has sustained heavy overall losses -- losing 8.9 million subscribers -- due to accelerating cord-cutting by legacy pay TV subscribers, who have largely transitioned to either digital, virtual, and/or premium streaming platforms.
In the first quarter of 2017, DirecTV had 21.7 million subscribers.