Current logo, introduced April 26, 2012.
|Launched||November 4, 2003|
|Owned by||National Football League|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Slogan||Together We Make Football|
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Headquarters||Culver City, California|
|Sister channel(s)||NFL RedZone|
|DirecTV (U.S.)||212 (HD/SD)|
|Dish Network (U.S.)||154|
|SKY México||1556 (HD)|
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||420|
|Bell TV (Canada)||448|
|TrueVisions (Thailand)||177/672 (HD)|
|Available on most cable systems||Varies by cable provider|
|Verizon FiOS (U.S.)||588 (HD)|
|AT&T U-verse (U.S.)||1630 (HD)|
|Google Fiber (U.S.)||219|
|Bell Fibe TV (Canada)||448|
|Telus Optik TV (Canada)||684 (HD)|
|VMedia (Canada)||78 (HD)|
|SaskTel Max TV (Canada)||423 (HD)|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol Television|
|Fubo TV||Internet Protocol Television|
NFL Network (occasionally abbreviated on-air as NFLN) is an American sports-oriented cable and satellite television network that is owned by the National Football League (NFL) and is part of NFL Media, which also includes NFL.com, NFL Films, NFL Mobile, NFL Now and NFL RedZone. Dedicated to American football, the network features game telecasts from the NFL, as well as NFL-related content including analysis programs, specials and documentaries. The network is headquartered in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, California, and broadcasts its worldwide feed from Encompass Digital Media (formally Crawford Communications) in Atlanta, Georgia.
As of February 2015, NFL Network is available to approximately 71,867,000 households that subscribe to a cable, satellite and telco television service in the United States (totaling 61.7% of U.S. households with at least one television set).
- 1 Background
- 2 Branding
- 3 Programming
- 4 High definition
- 5 NFL RedZone channel
- 6 International distribution
- 7 ESPN partnership
- 8 Carriage and distribution complications
- 8.1 Comcast
- 8.2 Time Warner Cable
- 8.3 Cogeco
- 8.4 Insight Communications
- 8.5 Dish Network
- 8.6 Charter Communications
- 8.7 PlayStation Vue
- 8.8 Suddenlink and NFL Network reach carriage agreement
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes and references
- 11 External links
NFL Network was launched on November 4, 2003, only eight months after the owners of the league's 32 teams voted unanimously to approve its formation. The league invested $100 million to fund the network's operations. NFL Films, which produces commercials, television programs and feature films for the NFL, is a key supplier of NFL Network's programming, with more than 4,000 hours of footage available in its library. As a result, much of the network's highlights and recaps feature NFL Films' trademark style of slow motion game action, sounds of the game, and sideline conversations between players and/or team staff.
Beginning with the 2006 season, the network began to broadcast eight regular season NFL games during Thursday prime time, branded as Thursday Night Football. In addition to live games, the network has provided coverage of the NFL Draft since 2006; its coverage competes with that provided by ESPN and ESPN2. It was simulcast in a co-production with Fox Sports for the 2018 edition, though this was only a one-year agreement as exclusive over-the-air broadcast rights will go to ABC for the 2019 edition, which will see ESPN produce a different broadcast for 'casual' fans.
In 2021, the network will move with the rest of NFL Media to a 200,000 square foot space on the campus of Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. In addition to office and studio space, the new facility also will feature NFL Media’s first outdoor studio and space to host studio audiences.
At the 2008 NFL Draft, NFL Network unveiled a revised logo that was updated to match the revised NFL logo introduced around the same time. Unlike the updated logo for the league, the NFL Network's logo included subtle changes such as using a darker shade of blue and changing the "NFL" lettering to match that of the new league logo. During the 2012 NFL Draft, the network debuted an overhauled logo resembling that used by sister network NFL Red Zone; the network also began to play down the "HD" branding used on-air, as the vast majority of cable providers currently carrying NFL Network transmit the channel's standard definition feed as a downscaled letterboxed version of the high definition feed. The logo underwent another minor change during the 2015 NFL season, when as part of the league's year-long celebration of Super Bowl 50, the logo took a gold hue in line with the league celebrating the game's golden anniversary.
The network unveiled an updated ticker at the start of the 2017 season, replacing the one used since the 2012 rebranding.
NFL game telecasts
Prior to the 2012 season, the NFL Network aired live primetime games on Thursdays beginning in mid-November. Starting with the 2012 season, the network began televising one live Thursday night game each week from Weeks 2 through 15 (excluding Thanksgiving Day), as well as one live Saturday night game during Week 16. As a result of the addition of these extra games, every NFL team now appears in at least one game on either NFL Network's Thursday Night Football, a Thanksgiving Day game or in the season-opening kickoff game each season (the season opener falls on the Thursday prior to Week 1 and is televised on NBC, while the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader games air on CBS, Fox and NBC). As with the games broadcast by ESPN's Monday Night Football, the NFL Network telecasts are also aired on a designated broadcast television station in the primary markets of the participating teams, although prior to the suspension of blackout rules in 2015 stations in the home team's market only carried it if the televised game sold out all remaining available tickets 72 hours prior to the game's start time.
When Thursday Night Football premiered, veteran television announcer Bryant Gumbel served as play-by-play announcer, with former Fox and current NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth serving as color commentator for the broadcasts. 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 as NBC opted to cover that year's preseason game in China, which was later canceled. The 2007 schedule began on November 22 (Thanksgiving night), with a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Gumbel and Collinsworth returned as the booth announcers.
Bob Papa, also the radio voice of the New York Giants on local sports talk station WFAN, announced the games starting in 2008. Former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen 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, NFL Network announced that Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock would serve as the announcers for that season's game broadcasts.
In the 2014 season, CBS Sports took over the production of all of the games in the package, and gained the right to simulcast 8 of the games on broadcast television. In 2016, NBC Sports also gained a portion of the package under a similar arrangement. Fox Sports took over the package in 2018.
NFL Network televises all 65 preseason games each August. Some of the games air live on the network, however a majority of these contests air on a tape-delayed basis and use the local broadcast of one of the teams involved. Live preseason game broadcasts on NFL Network are blacked out in the home markets of both participating teams, where the game is broadcast on a local station; in those affected areas, an alternate feed of NFL Network is shown instead with a different preseason game or a previously aired game. NFL Network had occasionally presented its own preseason broadcasts as special editions of Thursday Night Football.
On weekdays, Good Morning Football airs live from 7-10 am, followed by a repeat from 10 am-1 pm.
On Sundays, the NFL GameDay Morning pre-game show airs from 7 am-1 pm, NFL GameDay Live from 1-7:30 pm, NFL GameDay Highlights from 7:30-8:30, and NFL GameDay Prime from 11:30 pm-1 am.
Arena Football League
NFL Network held the broadcast rights to the revived Arena Football League from 2010 to 2012. Starting with the 2010 season, the network broadcast a weekly Friday Night Football game each week during the regular season and playoff games at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time from March to August, in addition to rights to playoff games and the ArenaBowl. The NFL stated that unlike when the NFL last showed interest in arena football, there would be no attempts to buy into the league. Broadcasters for the games included Kurt Warner, Tom Waddle, Paul Burmeister, Fran Charles, Charles Davis and Ari Wolfe.
Starting with the 2010 season, the network obtained the broadcast rights to the Arena Football League. Each Friday, the NFL Network aired a Game of the Week from the AFL through the league's playoffs and culminating with the ArenaBowl. Also beginning in 2010, the channel began to broadcast 14 regular season games as well as the Grey Cup from the Canadian Football League.
NFL Network ceased airing Arena Football League games partway through the 2012 season as a result of ongoing labor problems within the league. The season's remaining games were carried on a tape delay, before the network terminated the league broadcast contract outright at the end of the season; the rights were then obtained by CBS Sports Network.
On December 29, 2006, NFL Network televised the 2006 Insight Bowl between Minnesota and Texas Tech from Tempe, Arizona. 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 later made the game available for free to stream on its website. The network also broadcast the Texas Bowl in Houston on December 28, 2006, whose promotion rights are owned in part by the NFL's Houston Texans, in which Rutgers defeated Kansas State, 37-10.
The network also showed a college all-star game after the college football season: the Under Armour Senior Bowl, which was held in Mobile, Alabama on January 27, 2007. 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 televised 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 carried two games between historically black colleges and universities during the 2007 season, including the Circle City Classic at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.
With the exception of the Senior Bowl, which remains on the network because of the league's extensive ties to the game, NFL Network no longer airs college football telecasts.
High school football
NFL Network aired two high school all-star games in June 2007: the Bayou Bowl between players from Texas and Louisiana on June 9 (via a live feed from regional sports network FSN Southwest), and the Big 33 Football Classic between players from Pennsylvania and Ohio on June 16 (sharing its feed with CN8 (now the Comcast Network) and cable outlets in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Ohio).
Canadian Football League
On July 1, 2010, NFL Network began airing live Canadian Football League games simulcast from Canadian sports network TSN. NFL Network aired the league's Thursday games, three Saturday games during the month of July, and then Friday night games beginning in September (after ArenaBowl XXIII). NFL Network did not air CFL games during August as it carried a heavy amount of NFL preseason game broadcasts. In addition, NFL Network did not carry any playoff games, including the Grey Cup championship, as those games are all played on Sundays opposite NFL regular season games. Those games were instead broadcast on the ESPN3 online service (ESPN owns a 20% interest in TSN, in a joint venture with majority parent Bell Media). On May 25, 2012, NFL Network announced it would not renew its contract with the CFL; The package was subsequently acquired by the NBC Sports Network, then by the ESPN networks.
NFL Network expressed interest in picking up CFL games again beginning in the 2019 season, after its previous deal with ESPN expired. To accommodate this, the NFL insisted that the CFL move its schedule over a month earlier than it currently runs, so that the network can use the league to fill air time between the NFL Draft and training camp. As such a change would require a rework of the league's collective bargaining agreement, it was unable to fulfill that request and instead renewed its agreement with ESPN.
Alliance of American Football
NFL Network HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of NFL Network that launched in August 2004. It is available nationally on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, and regionally on Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse and most Comcast and Cogeco Cable systems.
In mid-October 2008, in-studio programs began to air in "enhanced HD", featuring contained additional scores and statistics on a dedicated wing on the right side of the screen that was only visible on the HD feed. Content that is presented in 4:3 standard definition is shown with stylized pillarboxes, or for some footage, blurred pillarbox wings. On May 1, 2009, NFL Total Access began airing in full HD without pillarboxing or enhanced graphics; this was followed by the upgrade of NFL GameDay to HD the following September.
Most providers began to exclusively carry the HD feed of the network during 2011, transmitting a downscaled and letterboxed version of the HD feed to provide the channel in 4:3 standard definition for analog viewers without any deviation, including the "NFL HD" logo. The standard definition feed was discontinued entirely in July 2012, concurrent with the introduction of the network's current logo.
NFL RedZone channel
The NFL RedZone channel is a special game-day only channel that broadcasts on Sundays during the regular season from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time). RedZone provides "whip around" coverage of all Sunday afternoon games airing in-progress on CBS and Fox . 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). The coverage is hosted by Scott Hanson. This is not to be confused with the completely separate and different Red Zone channel available only on NFL Sunday Ticket.
Starting in 2016 NFL Network during the offseason replayed one week of NFL RedZone every Sunday from the previous season.
It was reported that the network would be made available in the United Kingdom in 2008.
Since the 2017 season, NFL Network is a part of the IPTV subscription service DAZN, which also offers the full Sunday Ticket package to German viewers.
According to a February 2008 report in The Wall Street Journal, NFL Network chief executive officer and former ESPN chairman Steve Bornstein had 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 tiers 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. Though such a merger has not occurred as of 2010, ESPN Networks and NFL Network do share some programming (such as NFL's Greatest Games).
Carriage and distribution complications
The NFL Network has had carriage disputes with a number of cable and satellite providers, although in recent years, major television providers have resolved disputes with the channel, and since 2012 NFL Network has been carried by each of the top ten television providers. The network-run IWantMyNFL.com website was designed to sell customers to push DirecTV to carry 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.
On November 10, 2006, Comcast announced it would add NFL Network on its digital tier in time for the debut of the network's eight-game Thursday- and Saturday-night package. 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; the NFL Network later appealed the ruling. Comcast sent NFL Network a cease-and-desist letter to stop encouraging subscribers to drop their Comcast service. Comcast's carriage agreement with the NFL Network ended in mid-2009. On February 26, 2008, a New York appellate court reversed course on a May 2007 judgment 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 the New York State 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." Comcast's deal with the NFL Network was set to expire on April 30, 2009. 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, on April 30, 2009, NFL Network announced that it would continue to be carried on Comcast in the interim while both sides tried to reach an agreemenet on a new contract. 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 Federal Communications Commission, claiming that since Comcast does not charge an extra fee for the sports channels it owns, Versus and Golf Channel, it considered Comcast's move to charge extra for NFL Network unfair. 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.
The trial before an administrative law judge (as ordered above) began on April 14, 2009. On April 17, 2009, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts testified that the provider 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¢ per month (at that time, NFL Network was charging 75¢ 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.
On April 30, 2009, NFL Network Total Access correspondent Lindsey Soto reported Comcast would continue to carry the network after its 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¢, instead of the 70¢ fee that the NFL originally requested. 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.
As of 3 January 2011[update], the NFL Network was available only on the Digital Preferred or Sports package on Comcast's Xfinity system 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
On December 20, 2007, the NFL Network proposed to Time Warner Cable to enter into binding arbitration, which would have a neutral third party determine the price and tier for NFL Network on the provider'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 subscribers, 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.
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.” TWC stated that it would be willing to make the network available on its 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.
On September 21, 2012, the Associated Press reported that Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks had reached an agreement to carry NFL Network. Within hours, both NFL Network and NFL RedZone began to be carried on many Time Warner Cable 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.
On November 10, 2006, Canadian cable provider Cogeco Cable announced that it had reached a carriage agreement with the NFL Network to carry the network on its "Sports & Information Tier". NFL Network had previously insisted that it would only allow cable providers to carry the network on basic tiers; Time Warner Cable stated it would only carry the network on a digital sports tier. This makes Cogeco the only major cable provider to reach an agreement with the NFL Network by placing it directly on a digital sports tier without any 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."
In 2004, Insight Communications reached a carriage agreement with the NFL Network to carry the network on the provider's digital tier, in addition to carrying NFL Network On Demand and NFL Network HD. At first, Insight did not carry the "Run to the Playoffs" games due to the extra surcharge providers pay to carry the games. Insight did not show the first-ever game, between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs on November 23, 2006, but the game that aired the following week and future games were available due to a long-term agreement that was later reached. Following Insight's January 2012 acquisition 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. They were restored immediately upon Time Warner reaching a carriage agreement with the network two months later.
On February 20, 2008, Dish Network moved the NFL Network from its "America's Top 100" package to the "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 NFL Network four million subscribers. 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. As of 3 March 2008[update], the NFL no longer encouraged customers to switch to Dish Network on the IWantMyNFL.com website; instead, the network only encouraged customers to switch to DirecTV, Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-verse if their provider does not 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.
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.
On June 16, 2016, Dish entered a new dispute with the NFL Network when the contract to carry the network expired at 7 PM ET, which resulted in the removal of the NFL Network and NFL Red Zone from the Dish Lineup, which marked the first time in the history of the NFL Network that a carriage agreement contract to carry the NFL Network expired and a new agreement was not reached before the deadline in which resulted in the temporary removal of the network from a cable/satellite provider. As part of the new carriage agreement, Dish subsidiary Sling TV added both networks to its lineup on August 11, 2016, in time for the start of the 2016 NFL preseason schedule.
Charter Communications became one of the first multiple system operators to provide NFL Network, in 2004. Initially the deal called for the network to be carried on Charter's digital-basic programming and included NFL HD and NFL On Demand. However, in December 2005, the network had pulled itself from Charter and filed a breach of contract suit against the provider in the New York Supreme Court over contract language regarding distribution. It was reported that NFL Network wanted a 125% rate increase in carriage fees and placement on Charter's expanded basic tiers.
In August 2011, Charter Communications and NFL Network announced that the two parties had reached a new, long-term agreement to carry the NFL Network and RedZone in time for the 2011 season.
On August 25, 2016, two weeks after NFL Network and the Red Zone Channel launched on rival service Sling TV, Sony's IPTV service PlayStation Vue added the two networks to its lineup. NFL Network is available to Vue's Core, Elite, and Ultra tier subscribers, while Red Zone would be available as a $40 seasonal add-on channel.
The NFL Network is embroiled in disputes with several cable providers. 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 that it had purchased from Adelphia Communications and its February 2012 purchase of Insight Communications after those providers' agreements expired.
NFL Network has insisted that it be placed on basic tiers of participating providers and wishes to charge the cable companies a monthly rate of $0.61 per subscriber, while Time Warner Cable and other major cable providers 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 outside of the football season. NFL Network's position is that the demands are unreasonable and many other providers place NFL Network on a basic tier without subscriber backlash.
2006 free preview
NFL Network offered a free preview from December 24 to 30, 2006 to Suddenlink Communications systems in West Texas and to Time Warner Cable and Cablevision systems in the New York City area. The package included the Texas Bowl and Insight Bowl, but excluded that week's NFL game between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, which was shown on NBC owned-and-operated station WNBC (channel 4) (NFL policy dictates that games that are televised nationally on a cable/satellite network be simulcast on a broadcast television station in the markets of the participating teams).
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 Cable made the entire preview week available to customers.
TWC 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. It even announced that Cablevision would put it on channel 14 (normally occupied by a television listings channel that was used as an overflow feed for 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.
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. Suddenlink agreed on December 22 to carry the entire free preview for their customers in West Texas. 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
2007 saw fresh controversy about the NFL Network. That year, the network happened to hold 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
In December 2007, U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts 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". An agreement was worked out between the NFL and two of the league's television 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.
In addition, New York City area MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WWOR-TV (channel 9), and Hearst Television-owned ABC affiliates WCVB-TV (channel 5) in Boston and WMUR-TV (channel 9) in Manchester, New Hampshire, expressed dissatisfaction over the CBS/NBC simulcast, stating it violated their agreements with the network. The stations had already been scheduled to air 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-TV (channel 2) 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. 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 12th-largest cable provider in the U.S., 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.”
On August 20, 2010, the National Cable Television Cooperative reached an agreement, of which Suddenlink Communications is a member, to carry the NFL Network on the organization's participating providers. As a result, Suddenlink announced it would offer NFL Network and NFL RedZone and immediately began carrying the channels. Suddenlink expected that the network's rollout to all of its service areas would be completed by or before September 12, the first Sunday of the NFL's 2010 regular season.
Notes and references
- Crawford distributes NFL Network via satellite services Broadcast Engineering November 28, 2008
- Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- "NFL Media Set to Move to New LA Rams, Chargers Stadium in 2021". TheWrap. March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
- Bryant Gumbel, Cris Collinsworth to announce NFL Network games Archived April 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine NFL Network.
- "CBS to broadcast eight Thursday night football games in 2014". CBS Sports. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "CBS to broadcast NFL games on Thursday in 2014". USA Today. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- "CBS & NBC To Share 'Thursday Night Football' With NFL Network; League Eyes "Tri-Cast" With Digital Partner". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "NFL reaches deal with CBS, NBC to split 'Thursday Night Football'". Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "Fox gets Thursday Night Football through '22". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
- Bonesteel, Matt (January 31, 2018). "'Thursday Night Football' will move to Fox next season". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
- Lombardo, John and John Ourand (February 8, 2010). NFL Network to broadcast new arena league’s games. Sports Business Journal.
- Insight Bowl coming to NFL Network NFL Network.
- Relive The Insight Bowl With Free Online Video Texas Tech Football.
- NFL Network to air Texas Bowl Archived August 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine NFL Network.
- NFL Network to air Senior Bowl on Jan. 27 NFL Network.
- NFL Network Going Canadian – CFL games begin airing on network July 1 Broadcasting & Cable July 1, 2010
- CFL to air on NFL Network Archived March 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine CFL Official Site June 30, 2010
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