A Drop From Comcast Could Cost The NFL-N Over Two Million Viewers

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've been discussing the merits and downfalls of the MLB Network vs. the NFL Network for a few days now, so this damning news couldn't come at a better time. Sports Business Journal is reporting that the NFL-N could lose approximately 2 million or more viewers, if a deal isn't struck with Comcast by April for the upcoming season (and you thought it was hard to find before?)....

NFL Network is facing the loss of 2 million more subscribers next month when its carriage contract with Comcast ends.

With its deadline coming by the end of April, some of the NFL’s top executives have stepped up their negotiating efforts to convince Comcast to cut a deal that would put the channel on its digital basic tier.

Currently, Comcast carries the channel on its sports tier. The NFL has said that it would not cut a new deal that would keep the channel on Comcast’s sports tier.

If Comcast drops the network, that would mean that only one of the top nine MSOs — Cox Communications — would have a deal with NFL Network. The Cox deal is up in 2011.

At the end of last month, Comcast sources said that some of the NFL’s top executives, including Goodell, New England Patriots owner and NFL broadcast committee chairman Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys owner and NFL Network committee chairman Jerry Jones, visited the operator’s Philadelphia offices to try to complete a last-ditch deal.

By all accounts, the talks did not progress far, and some Comcast insiders expect that the operator will not work out a deal, which means it would drop the channel next month from its digital sports tier, which has about 2 million subscribers.
Roger Goodell said that the total viewership last season was at around 35 million, but I really don't see how that's possible. This is just another blow for the NFL Network, as far as PR goes, and while I understand the need to try and force Comcast's hand for more viewers, the NFL really isn't in a position to bargain with the cable giant at the moment.

NFL Network steps up carriage talks (Sports Business Journal - $)


As a Time Warner subscriber, I'm still waiting for this fucking network to show up in my channels.

GMoney said...
Mar 11, 2009, 4:11:00 PM  

Can NFLN really afford to lose 2 million subscribers? Just suck it up and let Comcast keep you on the sports tier.

Bill S. said...
Mar 11, 2009, 4:59:00 PM  

When I moved last June, I inherited a different cable system, meaning Comcast no longer had my television(and my checkbook) by the balls. The only real drawback is that it's a small operation(just Southern and Southwest VA and parts of Southern West VA). Thus, it's not even on the NFL-N or MLB-N radar, even though its parent company is in Stamford, CT.
This means nothing to anyone but me, but I had to get it off my chest. Thanks for indulging me.

Unholy_Diver said...
Mar 11, 2009, 7:23:00 PM  

If they don't re-up, I'm definitely dumping that sports tier.

NBA TV and the Speed Channel can kiss my fat ass.

Mar 11, 2009, 7:52:00 PM  

Well in defense in Comcast, (and I despise them as much as others), it is cheaper on the Sports Tier because the tier is $ 5 a month, where the next level of cable service would be an extra $ 17/ month. I watch some of the channels on the sports tier (NFLN, NHLN, former CSTV, FOX College sports channels)more than all the other channels I get. Of course COmcast is the same company that can add MLBN and BTN but not ESPNU.

The worst thing about dropping NFLN would be having to go back to ESPN for NFl news and highlights.

And dont me started on the "Newsmakers" segments on Headline News.

Anonymous said...
Mar 11, 2009, 9:03:00 PM  

I hate all cable tv, but I don't much care because I have Direct tv and we started getting the NFL network years ago.

I can see why everyone gets pissed about not having it, but frankly, except for the live games, there's nothing on unless you are insane and can't do anything but watch football. Mind you, i understand the live games are worth having.

James said...
Mar 11, 2009, 10:09:00 PM  

I get Dish Network so I have NFL Network. Therefore, I don't care. Come on NFL, you and Jay Cutler both have to suck it up. GO BRONCOS!!!

Brad James said...
Mar 12, 2009, 1:32:00 PM  

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