Sinclair Broadcast Group says it has reached an agreement in which 9 of its TV stations will remain ABC affiliates into 2015.
The deal covers TV stations in Missouri, Ohio, the Carolinas, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia and Illinois. It replaces a contract that had expired Dec. 31 and was extended to March 31.
Sinclair says this marks the first time it will pay a license fee to ABC in its affiliate agreements. Traditionally the relationship worked the other way around: Networks paid the affiliates, as a way to secure larger audiences. More recently network-affiliate deals involved sharing of commercial air time. Now Sinclair says it will share with ABC fees it collects from pay-TV providers for the right to carry local channels on their lineups.