NFL Network

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NFL Network
Current logo, introduced April 26, 2012. The NFL Shield logo is rendered next to the word "Network", which is in a right-italic font with an aggressive type of block font.
Launched November 4, 2003
Owned by National Football League
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV/16:9 letterbox)
Slogan Together We Make Football
Language English
Broadcast area North America
Headquarters Culver City, California
Website NFLNetwork.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV (U.S.) 212 (HD/SD)
Dish Network (U.S.) 154 (HD/SD)
Red Zone Channel:
155 (HD only)
SKY México (Mexico) 1526 (HD)
526 (SD)
Shaw Direct (Canada) 420
Bell TV (Canada) 448
Cable
NFL Network and Red Zone Channel available on select U.S. and Canadian cable systems Check local listings
Cablevision 150
Cablevision (México) 956 (HD)
512 (SD)
Verizon FiOS (U.S.) 588 (HD)
88 (SD)
NFL RedZone:
835 (HD)
335 (SD)
IPTV
Sky Angel (U.S.) 322
AT&T U-verse (U.S.) 1630 (HD)
630 (SD)
Google Fiber (U.S.) NFL Network
Bell Fibe TV (Canada) 448
Telus Optik TV (Canada) 684 (HD)
132 (SD)

NFL Network (NFLN) is an American television sports channel dedicated to American football, owned and operated by the National Football League (NFL). It was launched November 4, 2003, only eight months after the league's 32 team owners voted unanimously to approve its formation. The league invested $100 million to fund the network's operations.

NFL Films produces commercials, television programs, and feature films for the NFL. It is a key supplier of NFL Network's programming, with more than 4,000 hours of footage available in their library. Thus, much of the network's highlights and recaps feature NFL Films' trademark style of slow motion game action, sounds of the game, and the talk on the sidelines.

Beginning with the 2006 season, the channel began to broadcast eight prime time regular season NFL games, currently running under the banner of Thursday Night Football. In addition to live games, the network has covered the NFL Draft since 2006; its coverage has competed with ESPN and ESPN2.

The NFL Network logo changed to match the new NFL logo, which premiered officially at the 2008 NFL Draft. Unlike the updated logo for the league, the NFL Network's new logo saw more subtle changes such as using a darker shade of blue and changing the "NFL" lettering to match that of the new NFL logo. The day of the 2012 NFL Draft, the network changed the logo to resemble that of their sister network NFL Red Zone, and also played down the "HD" branding of the network as of late, as effectively all cable providers currently carry the analog 4:3 version of the channel as a downscaled version of the HD feed, including letterboxing of all programming.

The NFL Network works from studios in Culver City, California, near Los Angeles, and broadcasts their worldwide feed from Encompass Digital Media (formally Crawford Communications) in Atlanta, GA.[1]

Starting with the 2010 season, the channel started broadcasting the Arena Football League. Each Friday, the NFL Network had a Game of the Week, going through the playoffs and culminating with the ArenaBowl. Also beginning in 2010, the channel began to broadcast 14 regular season Canadian Football League games. It would also air the Grey Cup.

As of August 2013, NFL Network is received by approximately 70,910,000 American households that subscribe to a pay television service (62.09% of U.S. households with television).[2]

Executives[edit]

  • Steve Bornstein, President and CEO; also, the NFL's Executive Vice President of Media (also the former Chairman of ESPN, and served as president of ABC)
  • Steve Sabol, President of NFL Films (sports filmmaker, winner of multiple Emmy Awards) (Died September 18, 2012)
  • Howard Katz, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Films (veteran TV sports executive; former president of ABC Sports; former ESPN Senior Vice President)
  • Judy Fearing, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing (former ESPN and Pepsi marketing executive)

Live NFL games[edit]

The original NFL Network logo, used from 2003 until 2008.
The second NFL Network logo, used from 2008 until 2012.

Prior to the 2012 season the NFL Network showed live games on Thursday nights beginning in mid-November. Starting with the 2012 season the network began televising one live Thursday night game each week beginning in Week Two and running through Week Fifteen (except for Thanksgiving Day), plus one live Saturday night game in Week Sixteen. The addition of these extra Thursday night games means that every NFL team now appears in at least one game on either NFL Network's Thursday Night Football, or in a Thanksgiving Day game, or in the season-opening kickoff game, each season. (The season opener is on the Thursday prior to Week One and is shown on NBC, while the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader games are shown on CBS, Fox and NBC).

[3] As with the games broadcast by ESPN's Monday Night Football, they are also aired on broadcast TV in the primary media markets of the participating teams, although the home team's market broadcasts the game only if it is sold out 72 hours before game time.

When Thursday Night Football premiered, veteran TV announcer Bryant Gumbel was the play-by-play announcer, and former Fox and current NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth was color commentator. Collinsworth won the Sports Emmy for best game analyst for his work on the NFL Network telecasts. Dick Vermeil replaced Collinsworth for two games in 2006. Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders replaced Collinsworth when needed in 2007.

In August 2007, the network televised the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints due to NBC wanting to cover, the later canceled, preseason game in China.

The 2007 schedule began on Thanksgiving night, November 22, with a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Gumbel and Collinsworth returned as the booth announcers.

Bob Papa, also the radio voice of the New York Giants on WFAN, announced the games starting in 2008. Matt Millen, former general manager of the Detroit Lions, was named Collinsworth's replacement at the same time. Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann joined Papa and Millen in the booth for the 2010-11 season. In May 2011 it was announced that Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock would serve as the network's new game announcers.

These games are also broadcast on Westwood One Radio in the United States and Canada, by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, and usually by Rogers Sportsnet in Canada.

Other football[edit]

NFL exhibition season[edit]

NFL Network televises all 65 NFL exhibition games each August. Some are aired live, but a majority of these contests air on a tape-delayed basis, using the home team's local broadcast for the first half and the visitors' broadcast for the second half and overtime if necessary. In 2007, eight live broadcasts were scheduled; two of them were produced by NFLN using the Run to the Playoffs production crew and the other six used the format just mentioned. Red zone begins when opponent is inside the defendor's 20 yard line.

Arena Football League[edit]

NFL Network held the broadcast rights of the revived Arena Football League from 2010 to 2012. NFL Network broadcast a weekly Friday Night Football package every week at 8:00 ET, with the season running from March to August. The NFL stated that unlike when the NFL last showed interest in arena football, there would be no attempts to buy into the league.[4]

As previously mentioned, the NFL Network broadcast the regular season each Friday and goes through the playoffs, culminating with the ArenaBowl. Broadcasters include Kurt Warner, Tom Waddle, Paul Burmeister, Fran Charles, Charles Davis, and Ari Wolfe.

NFL Network ceased airing Arena Football League games partway through the 2012 season as a result of ongoing labor problems within the league. The remaining games in the season were carried on a tape delay before the network dropped the league outright at the end of the season. The rights were picked up by CBS Sports.

College football[edit]

NFL Network televised the 2006 Insight Bowl between Minnesota and Texas Tech on December 29, 2006, from Tempe, Arizona.[5] The game featured the biggest comeback in NCAA Division I-A bowl history, with Texas Tech coming back from a 38-7 third-quarter deficit to win 44-41 in overtime. The network has made the game available for free online viewing at its site.[6]

The network also broadcast the Texas Bowl in Houston, whose promotion rights are owned in part by the NFL's Houston Texans. It was played December 28, 2006. Rutgers defeated Kansas State, 37-10.[7]

The network also showed a college all-star game after the season. The Under Armour Senior Bowl, in Mobile, Alabama which was played on January 27, 2007.[8] NFL Network was also expected to show the Las Vegas All-American Classic in Henderson, Nevada on January 15, but the game was canceled due to lack of sponsorship.

On April 14, 2007, the network showed the Nebraska Cornhuskers' spring football game.

The network again aired the Insight, Texas, and Senior bowls in late 2007 and early 2008. In addition, it showed two games between historically black colleges and universities in the 2007 season, one of which was the Circle City Classic at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.

As of 2011, with ESPN purchasing the rights to almost every bowl game except the Sun Bowl and Cotton Bowl Classic (which have contracts with CBS Sports and Fox Sports respectively), NFL Network no longer airs any bowl games, although they continue to carry the Senior Bowl.

High school football[edit]

NFLN aired two broadcasts of high school all-star games in June 2007: the Bayou Bowl between players from Texas and Louisiana on June 9 (NFLN carried the FSN Southwest feed live), and the Big 33 Football Classic between players from Pennsylvania and Ohio on June 16 (sharing its feed with CN8 (now Comcast Network) and cable outlets in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Canadian Football League[edit]

On July 1, 2010, NFL Network began airing live Canadian Football League games simulcast from Canada's TSN. NFL Network aired Thursday games, three Saturday games in July, and then Friday night games beginning again in September (after ArenaBowl XXIII). NFL Network didn't air CFL games in August due to a large number of NFL preseason broadcasts.[9][10] In addition, NFL Network didn't show any playoff games, including the Grey Cup championship, as those games are all played on Sundays opposite the NFL. Those games were instead broadcast on the online service ESPN3, a sister network to TSN. NFL Network announced it would not renew its deal with the CFL on May 25, 2012.[11] The package was subsequently picked up by the NBC Sports Network.

Programming[edit]

International distribution[edit]

  • Canada - NFL Network is available in Canada through various service providers, including Bell TV, Vidéotron and Rogers Cable. Regular-season NFL broadcasts will be blacked out in Canada to protect Sportsnet, which has purchased exclusive Canadian rights to the Thursday-Saturday package. Also, CFL telecasts shown on NFL Network will be blacked out in Canada as well to protect TSN, for the same reason.
  • The United Kingdom - It was reported that the UK could have received the channel in 2008.[12] Sky Sports as of December 2010 broadcast Red Zone live via the red button option on the Sky Digital platform.
  • Philippines - SkyCable in Manila began to carry the network in 2011.[citation needed]

High definition[edit]

The 1080i high definition simulcast of NFL Network launched in August 2004.

It is available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network, and regionally on Verizon FiOS, AT&T Uverse, and most Comcast and Cogeco cable systems.

In mid-October 2008, studio shows began to air in "enhanced HD", and have contained extra scores and stats on the right side of the screen that are only seen on the HD version of the channel. Other content that's only available in 4:3 standard definition is shown with stylized pillarboxes, or for some footage, blurred edges. On May 1, 2009, NFL Total Access began to air in full HD without pillarboxes or enhanced graphics. NFL GameDay began airing in HD the following September.

Most providers began to carry the network exclusively using the HD feed throughout 2011, downscaling the HD feed with letterboxing to provide the channel in 4:3 form for analog viewers without any deviation, including the "NFL HD" logo. The standard definition feed was discontinued entirely in July 2012, allowing the network to institute their current logo.

NFL RedZone Channel[edit]

NFL Network Redzone.png

The NFL RedZone Channel is a special game day-only channel airing from 1-8 p.m. ET (10 a.m.-5 p.m. PT). It is based in the NFL Network studios and hosted by Scott Hanson. The RedZone monitors all Sunday afternoon games on both CBS and Fox in-progress in what is branded as "whip around" coverage. Whenever a team enters the red zone, the coverage will switch full-screen over to the live feed of that game's television broadcast, and attempt to cover a potential scoring result (touchdown or field goal).

If there are no teams in the red zone at a given moment, the focus may shift to a team on a strong offensive drive, or an otherwise important game of the day. In the latter parts of the season, extra sidebar attention may be given to teams fighting for playoff berths, and the respective status thereof. The "whip around" coverage also is used to show quick replays of big plays such as turnovers, deep pass completions, kickoff/punt return touchdowns, and other potentially interesting or important key plays. The "Game Rewind" feature is sometimes used to replay a big play that got a particular team into the red zone. Periodically throughout the afternoon, the producers keep track of and update viewers on the status of fantasy football stats, and/or other statistical superlatives. The channel prides itself on showing every touchdown scored in every game throughout the afternoon.

There are no commercials shown during RedZone's seven-hour game coverage. Whenever the game of focus goes to a natural commercial break or other stoppage (e.g., timeout, instant replay challenge, injury timeout, etc.), the feed will immediately switch to the next most-interesting game in-progress at the moment. If all games at a given moment are in commercial or at halftime, coverage will revert to the studio for brief commentary or statistical analysis by Hanson. It is not unusual for RedZone to swap between two or more games in quick succession, even between individual plays. At certain times during the afternoon, a split-screen might be used, with two, three, or as many as eight games feeds shown simultaneously. At the conclusion of the evening at 8 p.m. (or when the final game concludes - whichever is earlier), an edited montage of every touchdown scored throughout the afternoon is replayed. Due to contractual obligations, RedZone must sign-off no later than 8 p.m., even if late afternoon games are still in progress.

The channel goes dark from Sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern until the next week's games start the following Sunday. The channel signs-on for a 90-minute pregame show under the NFL Fantasy Live title at 11:30 a.m. eastern, focusing primarily on fantasy football. Unlike the game coverage, commercials do air during the pregame show. After the final week of the regular season, the channel goes dark for the playoffs and offseason. A generic title card advertisement airs during the downtime with an NFL Films music accompaniment, though cable providers may overlay their own tie-in title card. Providers are disallowed from using the channel space for other purposes during off-air time, unlike regional sports networks that carry extra game "plus" feeds on networks such as TVGN or a regional news channel.

The RedZone Channel is available through most carriers that pick up NFL Network.[13][14][15][16][17][18] The channel is available in both standard and high definition, and availability depends on service tier. Some carriers might have NFL Network available on their main digital tier, while RedZone might be on a digital sports tier at an additional cost.

In the United Kingdom, Redzone is available as a Red Button option to Sky Digital[19] and Virgin Media subscribers.

On select nights during the preseason, special "whip around" coverage airs on NFL Network itself, with the same production crew and host from the RedZone.

This channel should not be confused with a similar outfit called Red Zone Channel, which is part DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket, and hosted by Andrew Siciliano.

ESPN partnership[edit]

In a report from The Wall Street Journal, Steve Bornstein, chief executive of the NFL Network and the former chairman of ESPN, has been in “high-level discussions” with NFL and executives from The Walt Disney Company including Disney CEO Robert Iger and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. An analyst quoted in the report suggested combining NFL Network with ESPN Classic which has a wide distribution on expanded basic cable line-ups but attracts a modest audience. ESPN could use its market weight and demand more than the 16 to 17 cents per month that it currently receives from ESPN Classic.[20] Though such a merger has yet to occur as of 2010, ESPN Networks and NFL Network do share some programming (such as NFL's Greatest Games).

Carriage and distribution complications[edit]

The NFL Network has had carriage disputes with a number of cable and satellite companies. The NFL Network's IWantMyNFL.com website was designed to sell customers on a switch to DirecTV to receive the channel instead of the traditional carriage-building strategy of asking cable customers to contact their cable providers and request the network; the site has since become a redirect to the network's website as cable coverage has been attained.

Comcast[edit]

On November 10, 2006, Comcast announced it would add NFL Network on digital tiers in time for the eight-game Thursday- and Saturday-night package.[21] On August 6, 2007, Comcast moved NFL Network from the digital tiers to the Sports Entertainment Package. This led to a court battle between NFL Network and Comcast, with the ruling in favor of Comcast, but the NFL Network appealed the ruling.[22] Comcast sent NFL Network a cease-and-desist letter to stop encouraging subscribers to leave Comcast.[23] Comcast's agreement with the NFL Network ended in mid-2009.[24] On February 26, 2008, an appellate court in New York reversed field on a judgment made in May 2007 that allowed Comcast to move the network from its second-most distributed tier to the company's sports tier. At that time, a court date had not been set. Four judges at New York’s Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, ruled the language "concerning additional programming package was ambiguous and that neither party has established that its interpretation of the relevant contracts is a matter of law."[25] Comcast's deal with the NFL Network was set to expire on April 30, 2009.[26] According to messages sent out to Comcast, Midco, and some Cable Systems customers with or without set-top boxes, NFL Network might be removed from some customers' channel lineups. The message said: "In spite of our efforts to continue carrying NFL Network/NFL Network HD, the NFL may terminate our rights. As a result these networks may be removed from lineups as soon as 5/1." On April 10, 2009, it was confirmed that Comcast would remove the channel on that date due to failing to reach a carriage agreement. However, as of April 30, 2009, NFL Network posted that they would keep running on Comcast so both sides could agree to terms on a good contract.[27] On July 30, 2009, NFL Network was made available to lower-tiered Comcast digital cable subscribers.

NFL Network later filed a discrimination case against Comcast with the FCC, claiming that since Comcast doesn't charge extra for its owned and operated sports channels Versus and Golf Channel, it's unfair to charge extra for NFL Network. On October 10, 2008, the FCC ruled as follows:

In the Second Report and Order, the Commission emphasized that the statute “does not explicitly prohibit multichannel distributors from acquiring a financial interest or exclusive rights that are otherwise permissible,” and thus, that “multichannel distributors [may] negotiate for, but not insist upon such benefits in exchange for carriage on their systems.” The Commission stated, however, that “ultimatums, intimidation, conduct that amounts to exertion of pressure beyond good faith negotiations, or behavior that is tantamount to an unreasonable refusal to deal with a vendor who refuses to grant financial interests or exclusivity rights for carriage, should be considered examples of behavior that violates the prohibitions set forth in Section 616.” We find that the NFL has presented sufficient evidence to make a prima facie showing that Comcast indirectly and improperly demanded a financial interest in the NFL’s programming in exchange for carriage. We further find that the pleadings and documentation present several factual disputes as to whether Comcast’s retiering of the NFL Network is the result of Comcast’s failure to obtain a financial interest in the NFL’s programming. Accordingly, we direct an Administrative Law Judge to hold a hearing, issue a recommended decision on the facts underlying the financial interest claim and a recommended remedy, if necessary, and then return the matter to the Commission within 60 days.[28][29]

Comcast trial[edit]

The trial before an administrative law judge (as ordered above) began on April 14, 2009.[30]

On April 17, 2009, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts testified that Comcast was willing to move the channel from the Sports Entertainment Package to a lower-priced base package if the subscriber fee was reduced to 25 cents per month. At that time, NFL Network was charging 75 cents per month. He claimed that overall, Comcast saved $50 million a year in license fees by leaving the channel on its Sports Package, which in turn led to savings for its customers.[31]

On April 30, 2009, NFL Network Total Access correspondent Lindsey Soto reported Comcast would continue to broadcast NFL Network after their contract expired at midnight as negotiations proceeded.

On May 19, 2009, the NFL and Comcast reached a ten-year agreement to place NFL Network on Comcast's Digital Classic package by August 1, 2009 for a monthly price between 45 and 50 cents, instead of the 70 cents the NFL originally requested.[32] This deal led to speculation that other cable operators would end their holdouts and try to reach deals that would bring the network to a wider audience.[citation needed]

As of 3 January 2011, the NFL Network was available only on the Digital Preferred or Sports package on Comcast (Xfinity) in Atlanta, Georgia and not on a Digital Classic package (which does not exist). This is contrary to the above mentioned agreement between Comcast and the NFL.

Time Warner Cable[edit]

On December 20, 2007, the NFL Network proposed to Time Warner Cable to enter binding arbitration which would have a neutral third party determine the price and tier for NFL Network on the operator’s systems, based on fair market value of the service. The NFL Network noted that the process could take some time and offered to make the December 29, 2007 game between the then unbeaten New England Patriots and New York Giants immediately available to Time Warner Cable, upon “written agreement to participate in the arbitration process and to be bound by its result.” The network was willing to make the binding arbitration available to cable providers not carrying the NFL Network and for an extension of Comcast's current contract.[33]

Time Warner Cable denied the binding arbitration proposal, saying "the operator has successfully reached agreements with hundreds of programming networks without the use of arbitration. We continue to believe that the best way to achieve results is to privately seek a resolution and not attempt to negotiate through the press or elected officials.” Time Warner stated that it would be willing to make the network available on their sports tier, as a premium service, or make the game available to its subscribers on a per-game basis, at a retail price set by the NFL, with 100% of attendant revenue going to the league.[34]

On September 21, 2012, the Associated Press reported that Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks had reached an agreement to carry NFL Network.[35] Within hours, both NFL Network and NFL Red Zone received channel slots on many Time Warner systems in time for that week's games, with full distribution across the company's systems planned to be completed by September 27, in time for the next Thursday Night Football game.[36]

Cogeco[edit]

Announced on November 10, 2006, Cogeco and the NFL Network made a carriage agreement for Cogeco to carry the NFL Network on their "Sports & Information Tier". NFL Network had previously insisted that it would only allow cable providers to carry the network on basic tiers; Time Warner stated it would only carry the network on a digital-sports tier.[21] This makes Cogeco the only major cable provider to make a deal with the NFL Network by placing the network directly on a digital sports tier without repercussions from the network. When it was announced that NFL Network would carry Run to the Playoffs on Cogeco but not on a digital basic tier, it was stated that Cogeco's Sports & Information Tier "has about 30% penetration across all Cogeco subscribers and 60% penetration among Cogeco digital-cable homes."[37]

Insight Communications[edit]

Insight and the NFL Network made a carriage agreement for the network to be placed on Insight's digital tier in 2004. The deal also included NFL Network On Demand and NFL Network HD.[38] At first, Insight didn't carry the Run to the Playoffs games due to the extra surcharge providers pay to carry the games.[37] Insight did not show the first-ever game, between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs on November 23, 2006, but the next week's game and future games were available thanks to an agreement that was later reached.[39] Following the January 2012 acquisition of Insight by Time Warner Cable, TWC chose to let the carriage agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone expire on August 1, 2012, which resulted in the two channels being removed from Insight's systems in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, due to the long-running carriage impasse between the National Football League and Time Warner Cable.[40] They were restored immediately upon Time Warner coming to agreement on carriage two months later.

Dish Network[edit]

On February 20, 2008, Dish Network moved the NFL Network from its "America's Top 100" package to the higher "America's Top 200" package. Dish Network notified customers that the NFL Network was "moving out of Free Preview into America's Top 200 package" on February 20, 2008. The move cost the NFL network four million subscribers.[41] On February 27, 2008, the NFL Network announced it would file suit against Dish Network for moving the network to "America's Top 200". The move stemmed from the NFL Network's decision to simulcast the 2007 New England Patriots-New York Giants game on CBS and NBC in addition to the game being shown on the NFL Network.[42] As of 3 March 2008, the NFL no longer encouraged customers to switch to Dish Network on the site IWantMyNFL.com; instead, the network only encourages customers to switch to DirecTV, Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-verse if their provider doesn't carry the network or has placed the network on a higher-priced tier.

On January 15, 2009, New York State Supreme Court Judge Rich Lowe ruled in favor of NFL Network, claiming their 2006 agreement for carriage on America's Top 100 package was still valid and Dish Network violated it by moving it to the America's Top 200 package, but he did not order Dish Network to move the channel to the lower package immediately.[43]

On April 10, 2009, it was announced that NFL Network and Dish Network had reached an out-of-court settlement to place the channel on the "Classic Silver 200" package.[44]

Charter Communications[edit]

Charter Communications was one of the first MSOs to provide NFL Network, in 2004.[45] Initially the deal called for the network to be carried on Charter's digital-basic programming and included NFL HD and NFL On Demand.[46] However in December 2005 the network pulled the signal from Charter and filed a breach of contract suit against Charter in New York Supreme Court over contract language regarding distribution.[37] It was reported that NFL Network wanted a 125 percent rate increase and placement on expanded basic tiers.[47]

In August 2011, Charter Communications and NFL Network announced that the two had reached a new, long-term agreement to carry the NFL Network and RedZone in time for the 2011 season.[48]

Major cable providers not carrying NFL Network[edit]

Background[edit]

The NFL Network is embroiled in a dispute with several cable companies. Perhaps the most public controversy is over its removal on some systems owned by Time Warner Cable, the second-largest system in the United States, which occurred in September 2006 and lasted until September 2012. That provider pulled the network from systems purchased from Adelphia Communications and their February 2012 purchase of Insight Communications after those providers' agreements expired.

NFL Network has insisted that it be placed on basic service and wishes to charge the cable companies a monthly rate of $0.61 per subscriber, while Time Warner and other major cable companies wish to place it on a sports tier. Cable companies feel that a channel with such marginal interest and few live games with filler programming would be tough to sell during non-football season months.[49] NFL Network's position is that the demands are unreasonable and many other providers place NFL Network on a basic tier without subscriber backlashes.[50]

2006 free preview[edit]

NFL Network offered a free preview from December 24 through December 30, 2006 to West Texas area cable systems run by Suddenlink Communications[51] and to New York area cable systems run by Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. The package included the Texas Bowl and Insight Bowl, but not that week's NFL game between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, which was shown on WNBC. (NFL policy dictates that games that originate nationally on a cable/satellite network be simulcast on a broadcast station in the participating teams' markets.)

However, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision were only interested in showing the Texas Bowl, which featured the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who developed strong local appeal in 2006 and barely missed a berth in the Bowl Championship Series. The NFL denied that request and would only offer the free preview if Cablevision and/or Time Warner made the entire preview week available to customers.[52]

Time Warner then offered to carry the free preview on a digital tier. Cablevision, however, continued to refuse to carry any NFL Network programming other than the Texas Bowl. They even announced that they would put it on channel 14 (a TV listings channel used for overflow sports from MSG Network and FSN New York) at 6:00 p.m. until the end of the network's postgame coverage. The NFL, however, stated that it would not accept that request.[53]

On December 21, however, after New Jersey legislators threatened legal action, Cablevision changed its mind and indeed showed not only the game between Rutgers and Kansas State, but also the entire free preview schedule. Time Warner had made a similar announcement only hours earlier.[54] Suddenlink agreed on December 22 to carry the entire free preview for their customers in the West Texas area.[51] The free preview did not lead to long-term carriage deals, and the standoff continued between all three cable companies and the NFL Network.

2007 Packers vs. Cowboys controversy[edit]

2007 saw fresh controversy about the NFL Network. That year, the network happened to possess the rights to some match-ups with major implications. The first came in late November when one-loss Dallas hosted one-loss Green Bay. Green Bay's Brett Favre was also having one of the best seasons of his career and would eventually lead the resurgent Packers to the NFC Championship Game. Most fans could not see the game because of carriage restrictions, more noticeable because it involved nationally respected teams in a highly anticipated match-up. This controversy would pale in comparison to the final game the NFL Network would broadcast that season.

2007 Patriots vs. Giants controversy[edit]

In December 2007, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for the league to settle their differences in time for the New England Patriots-New York Giants game on December 29 that would be broadcast on Saturday Night Football. The game was the Patriots' record-sealing win that made them the first undefeated team through the regular season in 35 years. Kerry urged for a solution to be decided upon in time so that Americans could witness "a historic event".[55] An agreement was worked out between the NFL and two of the League's TV partners, NBC and CBS, to allow the NFL Network broadcast of the game to be simulcast on those networks, resulting in the first NFL simulcast since Super Bowl I and the first three-network simulcast in the history of the league.[56]

In addition, WWOR "My 9", the MyNetworkTV affiliate in the New York City area, and ABC affiliates WCVB 5 in Boston and WMUR 9 in Manchester, New Hampshire, expressed dissatisfaction over the CBS/NBC simulcast, stating it violated the agreements. The stations had already been scheduled to show the game, as per NFL rules. Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesperson, stated that NBC and CBS would not have agreed to present the simulcast without clearing the game nationally, including the aforementioned markets. WWOR came to an agreement with the network and showed the game along with WNBC and WCBS in the New York City market. WCVB also would still televise the game and stated that it was still working toward resolving issues with the NFL Network over additional coverage rights.[57] The result of these arrangements was that viewers in the New York, Boston and New Hampshire areas could see the game on up to four networks.

RCN Corporation, the twelfth-largest U.S. cable company, stated that the league's deal with CBS and NBC "devalues its contract with the league’s in-house service." Greg Aiello, a NFL spokesperson, said he was unaware of dissatisfaction among NFL Network affiliates over the simulcast and if any were seeking a rebate or other form of compensation because the game was being more widely distributed. If that were the case, he said, those discussions would “take place privately with our TV partners.”[58]

Suddenlink and NFL Network reach carriage agreement[edit]

On August 20, 2010, an agreement was reached between NFL Network and the National Cable Television Cooperative, of which Suddenlink is a member. As a result, Suddenlink announced they would offer NFL Network and NFL RedZone and immediately began launching the channels. Suddenlink expected substantially all of the launches to be completed by or before September 12, the first Sunday of the NFL’s 2010 regular season.[59]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Crawford distributes NFL Network via satellite services Broadcast Engineering November 28, 2008
  2. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved September 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bryant Gumbel, Cris Collinsworth to announce NFL Network games NFL Network.
  4. ^ Lombardo, John and John Ourand (2010-02-08). NFL Network to broadcast new arena league’s games. Sports Business Journal.
  5. ^ Insight Bowl coming to NFL Network NFL Network.
  6. ^ Relive The Insight Bowl With Free Online Video Texas Tech Football.
  7. ^ NFL Network to air Texas Bowl NFL Network.
  8. ^ NFL Network to air Senior Bowl on Jan. 27 NFL Network.
  9. ^ NFL Network Going Canadian - CFL games begin airing on network July 1 Broadcasting & Cable July 1, 2010
  10. ^ CFL to air on NFL Network CFL Official Site June 30, 2010
  11. ^ McMillan, Ken (May 25, 2012). No CFL on NFLN, eh?. HudsonValley.com. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  12. ^ NFLUK.com - Features: Display Features
  13. ^ Dish Joins Comcast In NFL RedZone - Both Distributors Will Kick Off Scoring Ser2009
  14. ^ Updated: Verizon FiOS Fires Up NFL RedZone Deal - Telco Positions Service As Stand-Alone Network Available On A Full-Season Basis Multichannel News September 10, 2009
  15. ^ AT&T Adds NFL RedZone To Lineup - Telco Will Position Scoring Service On Its HD Premium Tier Multichannel News September 11, 2009
  16. ^ Blue Ridge Enters NFL RedZone - Operator Adds 'Scoring Channel To HD Plus Package Multichannel News September 10, 2009
  17. ^ NFL RedZone on DISH Network – Brings You Every NFL Touchdown American DISH Blog July 30, 2010
  18. ^ Cox Re-Ups With NFL Network, Adds RedZone Multichannel News August 24, 2010
  19. ^ http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/sky-sports-uk-screen-nfl-redzone-live-highlights-1369990.htm
  20. ^ Barrett, Larry (2008-06-21). "ESPN, NFL Network To Partner: Report". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  21. ^ a b Cox Adds NFL Network Game Package Multichannel
  22. ^ NFL Network to Appeal Court Ruling for Comcast Media Buyer Planner
  23. ^ Comcast sends NFL Network cease-and-desist note Media Buyer Planner
  24. ^ Jones: Comcast’s NFL Network Deal Expires In 18 Months Multichannel
  25. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2008-02-26). "Court Reverses Field On Comcast’s NFL Network Tier Play". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  26. ^ Finn, Chad (2009-04-10). "Comcast to Sack NFL Network". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  27. ^ Comcast to Sack NFL Network, The Boston Globe, April 10, 2009
  28. ^ FCC: Programmers make case for discrimination
  29. ^ FCC Order DA 08-2269
  30. ^ NFL Network's FCC Program-Access Complaint Against Comcast Kicks Off Tuesday - ALJ Will Hear Network's Case Against Operator; Other Huddles To Follow, MultiChannel News, April 13, 2009
  31. ^ Updated: Comcast Would Move NFL Network Off Tier If Service Drops Price: Roberts - Monthly License Fee Of 25 Cents Could Trigger Broader Distribution Multichannel News April 17, 2009
  32. ^ NFL, Comcast reach long-term carriage agreement for NFL Network NFL.com, May 19, 2009
  33. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2007-12-20). "NFL Network Play Call: Time Warner Cable Arbitration". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  34. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2007-12-20). "Britt Balks At NFL Network’s Arbitration Play". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  35. ^ Cohen, Rachel (September 21, 2012). AP Source: Time Warner Cable to add NFL Network. Associated Press. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  36. ^ Kiesewetter, John (21 September 2012). "NFL Network on Time Warner Ch 1346". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  37. ^ a b c NFL Network Is Still Plugging Holes Multichannel
  38. ^ NFL Network Suits Up Insight Multichannel
  39. ^ NFL Network Scores Insight Deal Multichannel
  40. ^ NFL Network, RedZone Face August 1 Drop on Former Insight Systems, Multichannel News, July 27, 2012.
  41. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2008-02-25). "Dish Sacks NFL Net". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  42. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2008-02-27). "NFL Network Files Suit Against EchoStar Over Tier Downgrade". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  43. ^ Judge: Amended Dish Carriage Deal Lead To Live Game Package for NFL Network
  44. ^ NFL Network Remains On Dish's Classic Silver 200 Package After Settlement - Pro Football Service Stays On DBS's Second Most-Penetrated Tier Multichannel News April 10, 2009
  45. ^ Charter Hands the Ball to NFL Network Multichannel
  46. ^ First MSO Touchdown for NFL Network Multichannel
  47. ^ NFL Network Seeks Charter Rate Hike Madison
  48. ^ Charter Communications Lands NFL Network, RedZone TV Newser, August 1, 2011
  49. ^ Outlook Dim for NFL Network, MSOs - 11/22/2006 3:56:00 PM - Multichannel News
  50. ^ Frequently Asked Questions NFL Network.
  51. ^ a b NFL Network and Suddenlink Cable Reach Agreement Texas Tech website
  52. ^ The State
  53. ^ Cablevision, NFL in new Rutgers war of wordsThe Hollywood Reporter
  54. ^ Cablevision to broadcast Texas Bowl ESPN.
  55. ^ Reiss, Mike. Kerry presses on NFL Network The Boston Globe, 6 December 2007.
  56. ^ Donohue, Steve (2007-12-26). "NFL to Simulcast Patriots-Giants Game on CBS, NBC". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  57. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2007-12-28). "NFL Working Toward Local Accords Over Patriots Game". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  58. ^ Reynolds, Mike (2007-12-28). "RCN Calls For Penalty On NFL Network Simulcast". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  59. ^ Suddenlink Kicks Off NFL Network Launch Multichannel News, August 23, 2010

External links[edit]