KCTV To Outsource Sports To Cable

KCTV in KS is close to signing an agreement with Kansas City Cable Partners’ Metro Sports, which would replace the station’s sports department with the cable operation (Kansas City Cable Partners is a joint venture between Time Warner and Comcast). If the plan goes through, KCTV will air a sports segment produced by Metro Sports during its evening newscast while eliminating its three-person sports department. In addition, Metro Sports, which has a current staff of 60, would produce all of KCTV’s sports programming, including Chiefs shows, sports specials, and live coverage of breaking sports news, while hiring more staff.

The controversy surrounding this deal centers on whether KCTV is eliminating content, which the station contends, or if it is subcontracting jobs to a non-union content provider, which would require union approval. The issue could end up in front of a federal arbitrator, with the union seeking higher severance pay for the three terminated employees, one of which is being courted by Metro Sports.

If signed, the agreement would take effect on February 2, 2004—the day after Super Bowl XXXVIII, with the Metro Sports logo appearing on KCTV, and both outlets co-promoting their sports coverage.