Want to watch the Patriots? Here’s how, amid Verizon contract dispute affecting WPRI

PROVIDENCE — If you’re a Verizon Fios customer with big plans for watching the New England Patriots game on Sunday on WPRI Channel 12, you may have to punt.

Verizon customers trying to turn on Channel 12 on Saturday, as well as the NewsNation channel, were greeted with a white screen with a message: “We’re disappointed to share that we have not been able to reach an agreement to continue carrying Nexstar’s programming on this channel.”

An orange banner with a similar message greeted visitors on the channel’s website that referred to a contract dispute over programming: “Verizon FIOS has denied you WPRI, yet they still bill you each month for our content.”

More:WPRI-TV could be taken off Verizon FiOS lineups as contract expires Oct. 14

What’s at issue in the contract dispute?

The station’s notice went on to say: “WPRI has presented a proposal for fair value compensation, based on the importance and value our programming brings to our viewers. Despite our tireless efforts, Verizon FiOS has refused our fair offer and is making negotiations very difficult. You may have seen them do this before. They will tell you it’s for your benefit, but don’t believe it. Our offer is fair. And now they hold you the subscriber hostage. It’s not right.”

Meanwhile, on its website, Verizon explained the dispute this way: “Our contract with Nexstar ended on October 14, 2022 and your Fios TV package contains Nexstar channels. …. Nexstar has proposed charging as much as 64% more for its programming. Verizon remains committed to making these channels available to our customers, but simply cannot agree to such unreasonable increases.”

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The dispute is affecting 33 stations in six states, between Virginia and Rhode Island, according to the Verizon webpage.

How can I watch the Patriots game on Sunday?

If you want to watch the Patriots play the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Channel 12 is still available over the air, and some streaming services, such as Paramount+ and YouTubeTV, carry Channel 12 and, according to their websites, offer free trial periods.

Email Tom Mooney at: tmooney@providencejournal.com

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