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