Time Warner, Comcast and other cable operators refuse to triple what they pay NFL Network, which is hoping fans will either pressure cable to carry the channel or bolt to satellite, according to a story in the WSJ.
The NFL reportedly has left more than $400 million in TV rights fees on the table in order to reserve eight late-season primetime games for its fledgling NFL Network, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. The first of the games is scheduled for Thanksgiving night, yet nine days from the debut of live games on the channel, it is still available in only 41 million of the 90 million subscribing to cable or satellite.
Cable operators are refusing to carry the channel because the league wants to boost fees from 20 to 70 cents per subscriber per month, according to the story, by Adam Thompson. This big an increase would make NFL Network the fourth most expensive carried by Time Warner Cable, even though the channel carries its marquee programming only six weeks a year, according to a company spokesman.
The NFL is hoping fans will demand their NFL and pressure cable companies, or switch to satellite. Indeed, the story says, sports networks tend to get their way in confrontations like these, and team owners back the NFL in its effort to bolster its channel.