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NFL Network Will Carry Eight Prime-Time Games

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mikey, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. mikey

    mikey Rookie

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/28/sports/football/28nfl.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    January 28, 2006
    N.F.L. Roundup

    NFL Network Will Carry Eight Prime-Time Games

    By RICHARD SANDOMIR
    The National Football League will place eight prime-time Thursday and Saturday games on its NFL Network starting in 2006, a senior league executive said.

    The league had been negotiating intently in recent weeks with Comcast, the largest cable operator in the country, about putting games on what would be a reconstituted OLN network and expanding distribution of the NFL Network on Comcast systems, where it is carried on a digital tier.

    But yesterday morning, the league decided not to go into business with Comcast and to put the games on the NFL Network, which has had preseason games but no regular-season broadcasts. Comcast had no comment.

    Putting the games on the NFL Network is a change for the league, which is accustomed to being richly compensated by networks with rights fees. Now, the NFL Network is building its own asset, for which it can presumably charge higher monthly subscriber fees while still collecting huge payments from CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and DirecTV.

    The schedule is made up of games that would have been on Saturdays late in the season on CBS or Fox, or on those networks' regional schedules, said the executive, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal. The first game will be on the Thanksgiving night, between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. All games will be simulcast on local broadcast stations in the markets of the teams playing.

    The NFL Network has 35 million cable and satellite subscribers, and it the addition of regular-season games will probably vastly increase its customer base and add cable operators like Time Warner and Charter, which have so far resisted signing on.

    "They'll be able to build the NFL Network into something far more significant," said Marc Ganis, a sports industry consultant. "On the 357 days when games are not being carried, N.F.L. programming will be going into people's homes."

    The eight-game package had been the subject of talks with ESPN and News Corporation, the parent of Fox Broadcasting, but at the end, the discussions were between Comcast and the league.

    The league's decision to build the NFL Network with regular-season games comes nine months after it completed deals with NBC Universal Sports on a six-year, $3.6 billion deal to carry Sunday night games and with ESPN on an eight-year, $8.8 billion contract to show "Monday Night Football." In November 2004, CBS and Fox extended their Sunday deals for six years, with CBS paying $622 million annually and Fox paying $712 million. DirecTV extended its contract for $3.5 billion over five years.
  2. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Rookie

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    Good! Comcast is an east coast- only corporation, at least I think it is because it's not available in this part of the country. Why the NFL would even contemplate allocating its primetime games to a regional audience is beyond me.

    Read that again… only 35 million households have the NFL Network. Some people can't afford satellite, while others have no choice but to accept the local cable company's programming. My cable company doesn't offer the NFL Network. So I guess people around here, (we're just outside of the DFW market) without satellites, can't watch their Cowboys on Thanksgiving anymore. That's bull****.
  3. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You all know how I felt about Charter's contract dispute with the NFL Network that shut it down for Charter Digital Cable subscribers (me) in mid-December.

    This better bring it back. Now we have the argument of regular season action!
  4. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    Many have been expecting the NFL Network to carry ... or at least THREATEN to carry ... regular season games. Somehow, i think having multiple competing networks each avidly promoting the product ... lures more eyeballs, hence more dollars. This latest move, think i, is just a stalking horse ... to get some direct broadcasting experience in-house (in-league), and demonstrate to the broadcast nets that the content-provider just might go do it himself ... if you don't make it worth our while not to.

    For years now, one Robert Kraft has been Tagliabue's right-hand-man for all things television.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. bigdgp

    bigdgp Rookie

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    My understanding of this is that it's going to pressure other Cable Networks to pick up NFL Network. There's no way they will be able to withstand the pressure of their customers to pick it up, or at least I hope so as I'm a west coast Time Warner customer...
  6. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    #37 Jersey

    I'm pissed at Charter. They better bring the NFL channel back soon.
  7. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Rookie

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    I don't believe its going to affect the Cowboys Thanksgiving game. I understand it to mean that the NFL Network is going to air an additional game of Thanksgiving NIGHT.

    I'm all for this. Its going to be an EXTRA game for those with NFL Network. Those w/o it are going to get the same number of games as they do now. These are additional games.

    As far as being able to afford satellites, if you are able to afford cable, you can afford a satellite.

    I have one. The initial installation is free for new customers and the monthly charge is the same or LESS than cable. You can get like 100 channels for something like 40 bucks per month.

    Where a satellite can get pricey is with the Sports packages like NFL Sunday Ticket. But you don't have to get that to get the NFL Network. And the football package works out to like 10-12 bucks per week during the season.

    Since I got it, I haven't had to go to a bar to watch a game that the local networks don't carry which means I don't spend money there.

    And most importantly, when there's a big game on at the same time as a Giants game, I'm not stuck watching the Giants-Cardinals instead of the game of the week.
  8. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    It makes sense for Comcast if they want to make a run at the NFL Package at some time in the future and replace DirecTV. Comcast plays hardball when they have to. Here in Philly, it's either satellite and get the NFL Package (and all PAts games) or get the Comcast affiliate if I want to watch any of the Philly pro teams (baseball, basketball or hockey ).
    For me it's a no brainer and I get DirecTv for footballl and Celtics basketball (why? I don't know- maybe I expect Larry Bird to walk thru the door) but Comcast refuses to let satellite carry their games.
    There were rumors that Comcast, which as you said is primarily east coast
    company has been trying to set up a competiton to ESPN....
  9. Isaac

    Isaac Rookie

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    Many people in this country cannot get satellite regardless of $. It depends on where you live, if you are able to install equipment (e.g. renters), and if you can get a signal (e.g. those that live at the bottom of a hill). For many people, the $ is not the issue.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
  10. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Rookie

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    That's a very good point that I didn't consider. Also for those where satellite signal is unavailable. When I first got satellite I was renting. I had to get my landlord to sign off on it. But I know people who lived in buildings and weren't allowed to get satellite.
  11. Patriotic Fervor

    Patriotic Fervor Rookie

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    If memory serves me correctly, Comcast is available in 43 states. They are apparently rapidly gaining influence in these areas (sports), and have become a company to watch.

    I wasn't aware of the ESPN competition thing, but it wouldn't surprise me. Sports is one market that has wide-ranging demographics, and as such has big-time potential for being a cash cow. We'll doubtless see more movement in these areas in the years to come.

    It is my understanding that all games televised on the NFL channel will be available through local (broadcast) outlets in the cities concerned, much like Sunday Night football on ESPN.

    This whole thing seems like a "feeling-out" effort by the NFL. What their long-range goals are for an effort like this remains to be seen. Eventually, if their efforts bear fruit, it is likely they will at least try and have local fans pay to see their local games (i.e., Sunday afternoon football on the local broadcast networks will be nothing but a fond memory). The potential numbers are there, but the league wants to have some evidence that they will indeed materialize.

    Could get interesting....
  12. kirjtc2

    kirjtc2 Rookie

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    Comcast wasn't going to let people in Cox/Time Warner/Adelphia/Charter/Cablevision/whatever-else-land have to miss the games. The plan was to air the games on OLN, which is owned by Comcast but made available to other cable and satellite companies (unfortunately for them, not many actually offer it).

    OLN got the NHL hockey rights as a possible stepping stone to something bigger which would eventually lead to it rivalling ESPN, but it looks like the NFL has let this "something bigger" go to their own network instead. Who knows what Comcast is going to do now...

    It's a shrewd business move by the NFL. They're undoubtedly going to increase their own network's reach, and by keeping it in-house avoid another Playmakers-type controversy.
  13. Na_polian

    Na_polian Rookie

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    We get Comcast up here in the Pacific Northwest.

    The NFL Channel is available here on Comcast, but you pay extra for it... bastards.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2006

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