Local News

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

Posted November 26, 2007 10:46 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2007 11:02 p.m. EST

— 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.