The Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams clinched division titles with wins Sunday afternoon, but many local Chiefs fans couldn’t watch their team’s game because Columbia TV stations didn’t air the game.
Chiefs’ games are usually a CBS gig, but a couple of times a year the Fox network carries Kansas City games when they play an NFC team. Fox had the rights to the Chiefs’ and the Rams’ games on Sunday, and since both games were scheduled for the same time, the local Fox affiliate could only air one.
According to Randy Wright, Fox 11 general manager, the network generally assigns the station the Rams game when this conflict occurs.
“Fox has the rights for the NFC,” Wright said. “Since the Rams are an NFC team, that’s typically what we get.”
Wright said the station tried “every way possible to broadcast both games” by requesting to air the Chiefs’ game on one of Channel 11’s sister stations, KMIZ or KZOU. But based on Fox’s contract with the NFL, that couldn’t be done, Wright said.
When station officials realized early last week that the conflict would become an issue, Wright said, they explained the situation to viewers on kmiz.com and received few complaints. KMIZ sports anchor Kevin Lewis also came on at halftime of the Rams game to explain the station’s decision.
Many Kansas City fans turned to local bars showing the game such as Stumpy Joe Pete’s Sports Pub. Owners Craig Hindelang and Chris Smith agreed it was definitely a good thing for business and said the bar received a steady stream of phone calls about whether they had the game.
“We had an awesome day,” Hindelang said. “We rang in probably 25 percent more than usual.”
Said Smith: “The only suggestion I have is that they do that a couple more times.”
In two weeks, when Fox 11 faces another Rams-Chiefs scheduling dilemma, Wright said the station has asked Fox for permission to air the Chiefs’ game.