Finding a local affiliate for Steelers football
September 20, 2021 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Is there a list or map of where in the US one can watch the NFL team the Steelers on over the air TV? Specifically in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Best answer: This is probably the best you’ll find. It’s hard because it changes every week, but 506sports is the most consistent coverage info.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:26 PM on September 20, 2021 [5 favorites]

The NFL on Television Wikipedia page explains in great detail how broadcast rights work and is otherwise pretty interesting. The area you named seems to be within the Pittsburgh 75-mile exclusivity zone, so if they're playing a regular Sunday day game in Pittsburgh, it'll be on either FOX or CBS depending on who the visiting team is. If they're playing an away game, it'll be broadcast on your local CBS affiliate.

If they're playing a Sunday night game, it'll be on NBC, and Monday Night games are on ESPN, except for the last week of the season when they'll be on ABC. Thursday night games are mostly on the NFL network, but there are a couple on Fox. In previous years, they've been on Amazon and other strange places.

NFL television availability is a complicated beast.
posted by Hatashran at 7:38 PM on September 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

My guess is that in Virginia and Maryland, the only time the Steelers will be on over the air TV is when it is a national game. Maryland is likely the WFT and the Ravens area. Virginia is likely the WFT and southern Va would possibly be Charlotte. West Virginia is your best bet. I do not know which stations would carry it, but if you go to the online tv listings for local W. Va. tv stations, it will tell you which games they are carrying each week.

I have solved this problem for my team, The NY Football Giants, in the past in two ways. One, was which was shut down a few weeks ago. Generally, you spoof your GPS and login to Locast and use the local Pittsburgh or nearby affiliate. I mention that in case Locast is able to overcome the legal hurdles and start back up.

Two, is a local bar. I know the Steelers have a large national following. When I lived in Chicago, certain bars would have the Giants games on (I assume via satellite) and the Browns Backers would go to another bar and the Steelers fans to yet another.

Many local sports bars will have the satellite NFL package and will play it on a TV. If it is not on, what we would do is tell them we will sit here and drink and order bad bar food while watching. So, look for a sports bar nearby your house. Call them and ask them if they will be showing the Steelers game on Sunday (or whatever day they play that week).
posted by AugustWest at 8:16 PM on September 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: WTRF is the CBS affliate in Wheeling, WV. When the Steelers play on CBS, it will be on WTRF.
posted by mmascolino at 8:56 PM on September 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

506 Sports is the way to go. Flexible scheduling plus, I think, some non-primary NFL markets having some choice of which games they air means that the local schedules for everything but the National Thursday/Sunday/Monday night games are not set in stone until less than a week before the games air.
posted by MadamM at 9:22 PM on September 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

506 Sports is indeed great at telling you what games will be broadcast in your area, but it will not be of any assistance in helping you watch a specific game.

Limiting our discussion to Sunday afternoon games (since almost all other games will be seen nationally), on over-the-air TV, only three games will be shown in any given market. If that market is the primary or secondary market* for an NFL team, one of those three games will be the game of that local team. The other two games are essentially at the discretion of the TV station. The NFL denotes certain games as "national" games, these are games involving high-profile teams or with important playoff implications, and those games are usually chosen to fill any slots the local team does not occupy. Other than that, stations will usually choose to broadcast teams in the general area, or games involving the local team's division rivals.

That said, the local broadcasters have some degree of independence, and will sometimes choose games that don't seem to make geographical sense. For example, Philip Rivers was a star in his time at NC State, and for most of his NFL career, the Raleigh affiliates would air the Chargers game when there wasn't a more compelling choice.

So the answer to your question is, check 506 Sports to see if the Steelers game will be on in your area, but it is not guaranteed to be available. If it is not going to be broadcast, the options would be

1) Purchase the Sunday Ticket service. It's expensive, but the only way to be sure you can watch any game you choose.
2) Find a local bar airing the game. The Steelers have a broad national following for a number of reasons, and I suspect there is a "Steelers bar" in just about every city in the country, you just may have to look for it.
3) Look for illicit online streams of the game. There used to be a Reddit for this, but it was DMCA'ed out of existence. I use A friend uses for this. The streams are generally on pages with all sort of complicated ads and pop-ups, so I wouldn't direct someone who was not internet savvy to this route, but I suspect the average MeFite can find their way through the thicket of flashing banners and fake virus warnings to get to the video.

*I can't find an up-to-date map of the NFL markets, but this one from before the Rams/Chargers/Raiders moves will give you some sense of the scale.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:07 AM on September 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also note - even if you can't find a Steelers-specific bar (which is unlikely, as others have noted, since the Steelers are nationally popular and you're not far from their home market), there are a lot of general sports bars that have 100 TVs and subscribe to Sunday Ticket, allowing them to show every game at once.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:57 AM on September 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

As Rock Steady implies, there are lots of illicit streams of all sports but especially NFL games.

If one were to google "reddit nfl streams", one would likely find sites with such streams, even though Reddit routinely blocks any actual reddit sites that pop up. But as Rock Steady points out, I wouldn't go near any such sites without having a robust adblocker installed.
posted by booooooze at 1:00 PM on September 21, 2021

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