As the year draws to a close, so does a deal between NBC Universal and Charter, which could potentially block customers of the cable provider from seeing the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

WSAW TV is reporting that the two companies are in negotiations to strike a new agreement for Charter Spectrum to continue carrying NBC Universal's channels, which include NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Syfy, E!, USA, NBC Sports Network, and others. If a new deal is not struck by the end of the day Saturday (December 31), NBC Universal could blackout all programming to Charter customers, which includes the big Sunday Night Football game between the Packers and Lions.

Both sides have spoken out on the situation, with Charter tweeting the following message:

USA Today is reporting that NBC Universal has issued the following quote on the situation:

NBCUniversal values its partnership with Charter Spectrum, our third largest distributor. Charter Spectrum has been unyielding in its demand for terms superior to those agreed to by the rest of the industry, including larger distributors. Given this position, we feel the responsibility to inform viewers that Charter Spectrum may drop NBCUniversal’s networks at the end of the year, including NBC, Telemundo, USA, Bravo and hit shows including the #1 show on TV — Sunday Night Football, WWE, the Golden Globes, This Is Us and more.

These negotiations are common practice between distributors like cable and satellite TV companies and distribution companies that own networks. It is very common for these talks to go down to the wire, with deals sometime reached at the last minute and other situations where deals are not reached until after the deadline.

In the event the deadline passes and a new deal is not struck, a blackout from NBC Universal is a possibility. Networks sometimes will continue service while negotiations continue. It is unclear what might happen in this case, however.

How to watch the Packers game at home if there is a blackout:

If a deal is not struck and NBC Universal does decide to blackout programming to Charter customers, it is still possible to watch the Sunday Night Football game (and other network programming on NBC) via local over-the-air affiliates. In the case of the Duluth-Superior area, this would be KBJR TV, which can be found over the air on channel 6.1.

You will need a televison capable of receiving digital TV signals and an antenna of some form. Any HDTV is capable of receiving digital TV signals automatically. If you have an older analog TV (a non-HD TV), you will need a digital to analog TV signal converter box, which are available at most electronics retailers.

If you live right in the Duluth/Superior area, a straightened-out paper clip inserted into the coaxial cable input on your TV may work as an antenna, depending on where you live. Otherwise, digital TV antennas are very inexpensive and are available at most electronics retailers.

If you live on the hillside in Duluth near the antenna farm, over-the-air reception may be difficult due to the hill getting in the way of your signal. This is a pretty small area that would have this issue.

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