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Fans Stuck on Sidelines in Cable Companies vs. NFL Network Dispute

Posted November 26, 2007

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— When the Dallas Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers Thursday, a cable fight will prevent many fans from seeing the game.

Eight NFL games will air only on the NFL Network, including this week's Cowboys vs. Packers game. Most viewers across the country need satellite TV to watch the NFL Network because the channel can't come to terms with the big cable companies.

“The bottom line is (that) we want this on our cable system. In fact, we offered three different proposals to them [NFL Network]. The latest was on a pay-per-view basis,” said Brad Phillips, of Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable wants to offer the NFL Network with a sports package costing $2.95 a month – or by pay-per-view.

The company said customers should have the choice to pay more for the channel and that adding it to the standard cable package would cause a hike in those rates.

The NFL Network wants to be included on standard cable packages and has recruited grassroots groups across the United States to rally for the cause.

“Why should cable subscribers pay extra for the NFL Network when you have 200 million fans in America?” NFL Network fan Tom Fetzer said.

NFL Network supporters like Fetzer, former Raleigh mayor, are asking the Federal Communications Commission to force arbitration. If the FCC doesn't get involved, two Charlotte lawmakers have indicated they plan to hold public hearings to try to work out a deal.

“I think the cable companies are greedy here, bottom line,” Fetzer said.

“Right now, the NFL Network is holding all the cards and we're trying to work out a deal,” Phillips said.

The Carolina Panthers game with the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 22 will also only be available to viewers outside Charlotte on the NFL Network. The FCC meets Tuesday and could appoint arbitrators in disputes with independent cable networks.


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  • paradox2920 Nov 28, 2007

    Lambeau, its not that the people who want the channel aren't willing to pay. Its that the NFL wants the channel placed so that even people who DON'T want it pay for it.

  • foetine Nov 27, 2007

    If Tom Fetzer is willing to pay the $12 a year the NFL channel wants to be in my house, I'll take it. but Why do I need to pay to watch Lineman break dance in May? And you will be paying an extra buck a month in your bill for the NFL Network. Don't buy Former-Mayor Tommy's hype. Nothing is free - especially his lobby services.

  • LambeauSouth Nov 27, 2007

    Football should be able to be viewed by whoever wants to watch it on one of the 3 main networks. Making it inaccessible to viewers who don't want to payup or shutup; is not acceptable. Most of the things on tv are so bad you can't even watch them with your kids. It's football, let us watch it if we want to.

    Try telling that to the ticket agent at Erission Stadium... let me know how that works out for you.. Do you think all programming is free? How about all those cameras Free? How about all the trucks to haul it all over the place Free? No it costs alot of money this isn't PBS

  • clancy Nov 27, 2007

    Football should be able to be viewed by whoever wants to watch it on one of the 3 main networks. Making it inaccessible to viewers who don't want to payup or shutup; is not acceptable. Most of the things on tv are so bad you can't even watch them with your kids. It's football, let us watch it if we want to.

  • bubbba Nov 27, 2007

    Don't worry football fans. I saw Raleigh ex Boy Mayor Fetzer saying he was gonna write a letter to the cable companies.
    Like they give a s__t what he thinks.

  • LambeauSouth Nov 27, 2007

    I have Direct TV and as it has been stated before, I pay for this programming why shouldnt cable subscribers? Please enlighten me. I have have the Sunday Ticket and dropped it too expensive for my tastes, but NFL Network has been on the air for several years now, where was the gripping prior to this. Pay up or shut up.

  • clancy Nov 27, 2007

    The local channels should be able to show the games. It is not fair to the fans that some games are only on the NFL channel. Next year it could be even more games we can't see. If the NFL wants viewers; they better make it accessible or people will get sick of being held hostage by the NFL and boycott it.

  • Halyard Nov 27, 2007

    I suppose after this we'll be so lucky as to have the NASCAR Network....Tennis Network.....etc////etc.

    I heard on the radio today, the NFL wants $.70 per household from TWC for this!


  • webhype Nov 27, 2007

    Two multi-billion dollar corporations fighting, with the NFL hiring a local schill (Fetzer dug the football out of his closet). I switched to Directv because of the lack of movement to add HD channels by TWC (once you have HD you want more) and the lack of the NHL Network (which clueless TWC replied back to an e-mail inquiry that they were not going to carry and then they add it two weeks later). Haven't looked back, only have TWC for Internet.

    As for the NFL, if they are asking to be carried on Basic cable (non Digital) as is MASN they are out of line. Analog cable has limited capacity (the Home Shopping Channels pay TWC for the privilege of being carried on basic cable). No harm in adding NFL to digital cable however without additional cost.

    Don’t worry, in the near future the Phone companies will be hitting back at cable for taking all those phone customers away by offering Digital TV service. Watch how Cable starts responding to additional competition for TV service.

  • smcallah Nov 27, 2007

    "That's just it. The cable companies want to charge EXTRA for this, even though the network ITSELF wants it included in the STANDARD cable programming at no extra cost."

    You are REALLY missing the point. The NFL wants this in the standard package because they want TWC to PAY A FEE TO THE NFL for every standard package subscriber.

    TWC wants this on a Sports Package so that they don't have to pay a fee for EVERY CUSTOMER and then pass that fee on to EVERY CUSTOMER.

    The NFL is the one being greedy here. Because the NFL wants EVERYONE paying for the channel, even though NOT EVERYONE watches it.

    How are they blinding you so? The NFL is really playing quite well on the hate that some people have for cable companies. You really think the NFL is providing this channel for free?