Television rivals broadcasts 2017 Christmas parade despite exclusive contract
ABC11 confirmed last week that the station will retain exclusive broadcast rights to air this year’s Raleigh Christmas Parade. And on Wednesday, it released more news about the parade: the contract the station signed with the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association is good for three years.
The Disney-owned WTVD, based in Durham with a newsroom on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, won one-year rights to the parade in 2017, breaking a 43-year streak held by rival station WRAL. Even without sponsorship, WRAL set up cameras on Hillsborough Street and also aired the 2017 parade.
WRAL will air the parade again this year, too.
Joel Davis, the new vice president and general manager of WRAL and Fox 50, told The News & Observer last week via email: “WRAL does plan to broadcast the Christmas parade this year. I was not yet with the station when any agreements were made, but have met with the GRMA since arriving, and I think the spirit of all involved is that we want this to be a great event for our community.“
The parade is put on by Shop Local Raleigh, a division of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association. There was friction between GRMA and WRAL over the news station’s decision to air the parade last year.
In a news release on Wednesday, ABC11 president and general manager Carolina Welch called the Raleigh Christmas parade “a gift” from GRMA to the entire region.
“As the downtown Raleigh station, we are so proud to help bring it to viewers and to add a little magic of our own,” Welch said.
Jennifer Martin, the executive director of the GRMA, expressed excitement over the upcoming event. “We are looking forward to producing another incredible parade, one which our community loves so much and allows so many fun memories to be made,” Martin said in an email to The News & Observer. “The parade has 74 years of tradition in the state capital and we love seeing all the kids light up watching the historic event.”
This year’s parade takes place on Saturday, Nov. 17.