ESPN-NFL Network Talks Reach An Impasse

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The rumored ESPN acquisition of the NFL Network has apparently reached a dead end. I mentioned the plan of the "Leader" adding some of the NFL Network's content to ESPN Classic back in June and apparently a few sticking points are causing the talks to stall. Via the NY Times....

And [the NFL Network] can’t rely yet, if at all, on the grail of greater availability in the form of a joint venture with ESPN. The proposal, which has been negotiated for a while, would give ESPN Classic’s slot to the NFL Network or fold it into the ESPN family.

But talks are at an impasse, or at least are extremely close to one.

Several issues have kept the deal from being completed, including the structure of the venture and how the ESPN/NFL Network channel would be run. Logic dictates that ESPN would want some of its executives and announcers in the mix.

If this Hail Mary deal somehow goes through, it would demonstrate how much the league needs the breadth and power of ESPN, which once needed the acquisition of N.F.L. games to enhance its credibility and inflate its subscriber rolls.

The league has long been the masterly puppeteer when it sells networks its broadcast and cable rights. But the NFL Network is not so critical to some of Big Cable, largely because its eight games are simulcast on broadcast stations in the markets of the teams playing, limiting the outrage from regions that absolutely must see the games.
This is an amazing shift in power in regards to the NFL and ultimately gives ESPN all the leverage considering that they're the current holders of the Monday Night Football contract. As the NY Times mentions, ESPN could seemingly get a discount and extension for the current MNF deal ($1.1 Billion) just by agreeing to help the league get their content to the masses.

Plus, ESPN Classic is just a wasteland at this point. Don't get me wrong, I love the channel, but it's rare you go to the channel for anything specific. Seems like a great move for all parties involved, but the tricky part will ultimately be deciding which personalities will go on which shows and features. I'm sure ESPN will want to have some of their 50 or so NFL talking heads on the channel and the NFL Network will want to keep theirs as well. It'll be interesting to see how they work that out if the deal goes down.

NFL Network Hopes ESPN Is Answer to Its Problems (NY Times)
More ESPN Acquisition News! How About The NFL Network? (Awful Announcing)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 4:30 PM

16 Comments:

thank god. bspn would ruin the nfl network.

the nfl network is fine as it is. if pansies are too lazy or gullible not to go out and get a dish or another provider like verizon fios that does have nfl network, screw 'em.

notice bspn wants control over content? thank god the nfl told them to take a long hike on a short plank.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 4:34:00 PM  

ESPN classic needs to put Cheap Seats back on.

Seahawksfan617 said...
Sep 3, 2008, 4:41:00 PM  

It's still on Hawksfan. 2am in the morning my friend. Set the Tivo.

Sep 3, 2008, 4:42:00 PM  

I have been watching all summer but they took it off middays two weeks ago and last week at the two am slot. At least thats what comcast did for me.

Seahawksfan617 said...
Sep 3, 2008, 4:44:00 PM  

Ah that blows. I used to hate it, but at 2am....there's nothing better.

Sep 3, 2008, 4:46:00 PM  

Yeah they have classic boxing on now. I've always loved the show but I have most of the episodes on tape anyway so I guess it's not a huge deal.

Seahawksfan617 said...
Sep 3, 2008, 4:50:00 PM  

The NFL thought they could bully cable like they did the networks, and soon realized the cable companies are simply more powerful. Being in nearly every home in America and having many politicians in their back pocket will do that.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 4:51:00 PM  

Needs more Kiana's Flex Appeal. Oh, and less boxing and Karen Corr.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 5:00:00 PM  

I WANT MORE KAREN CORR!!!

GMoney said...
Sep 3, 2008, 5:40:00 PM  

Two things going for classic right now:

Old AWA wrestling

The champions league

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 6:29:00 PM  

Like most everything else it touches, ESPN turned Classic into pure crap.

Good job, boys, for ruining another aspects of sports (see Sports Center, local sports highlights, sports magazine, etc).

bevo said...
Sep 3, 2008, 7:51:00 PM  

in a nonrelated note, the team formerly known as the sonics has a new logo and name. At least i can take satisfaction that my current city of residence--Charlotte, NC--is no longer in possion of the worse logo/name/uniforms in the nba.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 8:30:00 PM  

Tatum Bell stole my semi-witty, "ESPN Classic sucks because _____" comment, but somehow left behind my personalized Karen Corr autographed cue ball.

Anonymous said...
Sep 3, 2008, 10:06:00 PM  

The Sklar brothers ruined ESPN Classic.

Anonymous said...
Sep 4, 2008, 11:40:00 AM  

no,no,no, no! ESPN is terrible, sports fans are forced to watch it as is.
If they consume the NFL Network it will Patriots,Colts, Cowboys and Eagles and no other options.

randall said...
Sep 4, 2008, 12:40:00 PM  

NFL Total Access is must-see on a nightly basis, SportsCenter, not so much. ESPN Classic really sucks now. Why do they show poker every night?

Anonymous said...
Sep 4, 2008, 1:19:00 PM  

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