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WGRZ forced to stop streaming high school football championships

WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) sportscaster Stu Boyar was calling the Cheektowaga-Maryvale football game in the Section VI championships from New Era Field Saturday when he was suddenly told the live stream on the station's website had to stop.

That meant viewers watching via Channel 2's website missed the exciting finish of Cheektowaga's 28-27 victory in the Class B game.

It also meant that the night's signature game -- West Seneca West's 27-24 victory over South Park in the Class A final that followed -- wasn't streamed by Channel 2, either.

That led some viewers to wonder: What happened?

Cheektowaga comes up with big stop to beat rival Maryvale for Class B championship

It was a rights issue.

According to Section VI Executive Director Timm Slade, Spectrum, the local cable carrier, has exclusive streaming rights.

However, Channel 2 streamed several playoff games Friday and Saturday as it has for years before Spectrum asserted that right.

Slade said he received notice Saturday during the Class B game to stop Channel 2 from streaming the games and providing double coverage.

A representative of Spectrum confirmed its live TV and streaming coverage is available to the roughly 50 percent of Western New Yorkers who get its cable service. That means the potential audience for the games was diminished once Channel 2 was kicked off its stream.

Slade said he thought the NBC affiliate's streaming rights for the championships were "grandfathered" into the Spectrum agreement.

"The issue in the past is Spectrum never live streamed; they only carried the games live or on tape delay," Slade said.

"I feel horrible," he added. "I love Stu and (analyst) Dick Gallagher. "They do a boat load of work and support the student athletes."



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