Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now

Seahawks season opener may be harder to watch after Comcast drops FOX affiliate KAYU over contract dispute

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) walks off the field after a 41-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Santa Clara, California.  (Tribune News Service)

Seattle Seahawks fans who rely on Xfinity TV may not be able to watch their football team’s season opener Sunday, after an agreement between Comcast and KAYU-TV Fox 28’s parent company expired Friday afternoon.

Comcast’s right to continue carrying the local broadcasting station expired at 2 p.m. Friday, according to Comcast spokesman Andy Colley.

Imagicomm Communications owns over a dozen local channels across the country, including KAYU in Spokane.

“KAYU-TV has a history of demanding unfair prices at the expense of the consumer and already charges a very high broadcast retransmission consent fee,” Comcast said in a statement.

“KAYU-TV and its parent company Imagicomm Communications – are now targeting Xfinity TV customers in Spokane to extract even higher fees and have pulled its programming from them. We have made several reasonable offers to KAYU-TV and Imagicomm, but we simply cannot agree to the higher fees they’re requiring in exchange for the same programming they offer today.”

In response, KAYU said in a statement, “Rapidly rising programming / sports rights costs and KAYU and Imagicomm Communications’ unwavering commitment to local journalism necessitate that distributors like Comcast/Xfinity pay their fair share to carry our stations’ signals. We have successfully completed renewals with numerous distributors and have not had any blackouts with any other providers.”

Both companies indicated an openness to negotiating a solution. 

KAYU carries TV shows including “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Special Forces,” “The Masked Singer,” “Lego Masters,” Fox 28 News and, of course, live Seahawks football games.

The easiest way to continue watching the channel for free is to plug in an over-the-air antenna, then do a channel scan. KAYU’s website includes a video with instructions for how to set up a digital antenna.

Other options are to consider streaming services like Fubo, Hulu Live or YouTube TV, which provide KAYU-TV and live sports, like football, online.

KAYU also encouraged customers to call Comcast to ask them to keep the channel. 

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.