The Tulsa television market always has been considered a Kansas City Chiefs territory, but because of the popularity of former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, local CBS affiliate KOTV-6 has been assigned the Tennessee-Cleveland game for the Sunday noon window.
Also happening at noon but not carried by KOTV: Kansas City-Jacksonville.
KOTV-6 and Oklahoma City’s KWTV-9 are owned by Oklahoma-based Griffin Communications. Sunday’s Cleveland opener also will be presented on KWTV-9.
“Because of the local angle,” Houston Hunt explained, network decision-makers “thought that (the Browns’ game) was the best to go with this weekend.”
“It’s a tough decision,’ said Hunt, Griffin’s vice president of marketing. “We’d love to be able to carry both, but when it came down to it, that was the game that CBS assigned to (the Griffin stations).”
Last season, Hunt reported, KOTV’s telecasts of Browns games attracted larger audiences than Chiefs telecasts.
For Tulsa viewers who don’t have an all-games package, these games can be seen during Week 1 of the NFL season:
- Green Bay at Chicago, Thursday, 7 p.m., KJRH-2
- Tennessee at Cleveland, Sunday, noon, KOTV-6
- Cincinnati at Seattle, Sunday, 3:05 p.m., KOTV-6
- New York Giants at Dallas, Sunday, 3:25 p.m., KOKI-5/23
- Pittsburgh at New England, Sunday, 7:20 p.m., KJRH-2
- Houston at New Orleans, Monday, 6:10 p.m., ESPN
- Denver at Oakland, Monday, 9:20 p.m., ESPN
“One way or another, I will see the Kansas City game,” said Marv Godfrey, a 36-year-old Tulsa resident who has been a Chiefs fan since he was a kid. “I may have to go to a sports bar, but I’ll see it.”
Godfrey is an account manager for a company that conducts background screenings of potential employees for various local companies. For several seasons, he and his wife were Kansas City season-ticket holders.
“I’m really not mad about this,” Godfrey continued. “I see what’s happening with Mayfield and the Browns. I’m a Mayfield fan. I get it. I’m interested to see what they are going to do, but I’m also a Chiefs fan and I hope this doesn’t become an every-week thing.
“Can you imagine if (Tulsa Fox affiliate KOKI) decided to bump the Dallas Cowboys and show the Cleveland Browns instead? People would be on the streets with pitchforks — including my 75-year-old mother who’s a diehard Cowboy fan.”
During the rest of the season, Hunt said, game-selection decisions will be made on a week-by-week basis.
Chiefs fan Jordan Korphage didn’t temper his disappointment about the Sunday decision. Of the CBS decision to send the Tennessee-Cleveland telecast to Tulsa, he said, “I think it’s disappointing for a lot of people in this area. I’m four hours from Kansas City, but I have to watch a team from a city (Cleveland) that’s 14 hours away because of where that team’s quarterback went to college.”
Korphage is a University of Tulsa staff member who handles media relations for the Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team.
“I would be more understanding if the Chiefs were coming off a poor season rather than an AFC title game appearance with the reigning NFL MVP (Patrick Mahomes),” Korphage said. “It’s disappointing that I can't watch my favorite team from the comfort of my home this week and, unfortunately, probably more weeks in the future.”
Two radio stations — The Buzz-1300 in Tulsa and KREF-1400 in Norman — now are Cleveland Browns affiliates.
The Buzz has a three-year contract for Browns rights and will carry all related programming during the week along with each pregame show, game broadcast and postgame show.