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Our View: Packers, Vikings fans left on sidelines in TV dispute

The Border Bash continues tonight: Packers vs. Vikings. Green vs. Purple. Neighbor vs. neighbor. What could be better -- especially here in the Twin Ports where the heated rivalry shares a border?...

The Border Bash continues tonight: Packers vs. Vikings. Green vs. Purple. Neighbor vs. neighbor. What could be better -- especially here in the Twin Ports where the heated rivalry shares a border?

Actually, what could be worse? Unless you happen to have a satellite dish or a buddy with a satellite dish, or a ticket to Lambeau Field, you won't be able to watch the game. Sorry. Out of luck. "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is on, though.

The football game won't be on in many Duluth- and Superior-area homes because it's one of eight games being broadcast this season on the NFL Network. And Charter Communications, the provider of cable television in the Twin Ports, doesn't carry the NFL Network. Only satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network do.

The NFL wants its upstart network added to regular channel lineups by cable giants like Charter, Time Warner Cable and Comcast. The cable companies argue the new channel would mean an extra 70 cent charge for all cable subscribers. They'd prefer to add the NFL Network to premium sports tiers where customers already pay a little extra.

With the NFL season hedging closer to the playoffs, and games growing in significance every week, neither side has shown signs of budging.

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For Packers fans, that means satellite is the only option for viewing what could be the final game at Lambeau for legendary quarterback Brett Favre. For Vikings fans, a dish, or access to a dish, is the only way to check out the first start in the career of promising rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

The game will still be broadcast in the Packers' and Vikings' home markets: Milwaukee, Green Bay and the Twin Cities. The NFL has agreed to that much. But "this is the Minnesota Vikings, not the Minneapolis Vikings," KQDS-TV Channel 21 general manager Dave Hileman said last month in the News Tribune.

Cheeseheads and Vikes fans don't see helmet to helmet on much, but they all agree that Duluth is in Minnesota and Superior is a part of Wisconsin. And that's where the game should be seen.

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