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Bison football game not on TV Saturday because of rights snag

NDSU's new media partner WDAY won't be allowed to broadcast at Towson, which has exclusive broadcast rights deal with streaming service.

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FARGO — North Dakota State football fans will not be able to watch a local broadcast of the Saturday, Sept. 18, Bison game against Towson in Towson, Maryland.

Neither NDSU's media partner, WDAY, nor ESPN+, will carry the game "due to Towson University's preferred media partner's refusal to allow WDAY to broadcast from the stadium," according to a release from Stacey Anderson, WDAY's operations manager.

FloSports, a subscription video streaming service, is a partner of the Colonial Athletic Association, of which Towson is a member.

"(Towson's) TV rights home is not willing to allow a side-by-side broadcast," said Joshua Rohrer, WDAY's Vice President of Broadcast and General Manager. "We made many attempts to come to an agreement and they refused."

Exclusive broadcasts are not uncommon. For example, the Bison's Nov. 13 game at Youngstown State will be carried only on ESPN+ since it is the Missouri Valley Football Conference's Game of the Week. NDSU's 2022 game at Arizona will also not be carried on WDAY. Those stipulations are typically known well in advance and that did not appear to be the case with the Towson game, Rohrer said.

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"It was definitely a surprise," Rohrer said. "From a continuity standpoint, you hate to lose a game like this."

Forum Communications Company owns WDAY-TV, among more than 20 other regional media brands. In May, Forum Communications Company was awarded the rights to televise Bison athletics for at least the three years in a deal announced by Learfield IMG’s Bison Sports Properties. Bison Sports Properties took over the media contract process when it signed a 10-year, $21.9 million deal with the university in 2020.

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