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Lack of cable deal will affect Tampa Bay Lightning

By now, most folks know it's possible that Fox channels will not be seen on Bright House Networks if a new contract is not reached before midnight Thursday.

While fans worry about missing NFL playoff and BCS bowl games on Fox (locally, Ch. 13), there are other local fans who could be affected. If a deal between Fox and Time Warner Cable, which oversees content for Bright House, is not reached, Lightning and Magic games will disappear as well. Those games are on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida, which are owned by Fox.

"Obviously, we are keenly interested observers on this one, and we hope that Fox and Time Warner can get something done to prevent any programming from being lost in viewers' homes," said Bill Wickett, Lightning executive VP/communications. "We are concerned for Lightning fans and will continue to monitor the situation closely but have confidence that the companies will work hard to reach a deal before the deadline."

The first Lightning game that could be affected is Jan. 2 against the Penguins. Fox isn't hopeful a deal will be reached in time.

In a corporate statement, Fox said, "We are not optimistic an agreement will be in place on Jan. 1 and fans should begin making alternative plans to see Sun Sports' Lightning telecasts and other local sports programming airing on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida."

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

Lack of cable deal will affect Tampa Bay Lightning 12/29/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:07pm]
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