National Football League executives hoped to push their fledgling cable channel to 70 million subscribers this season, but remain stalled at 40 million, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
The NFL Network, which has been airing a slate of eight games this season, had hoped fans would badger their cable operators to add the channel, but the network hasn’t made significant subscriber gains, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Operators have argued that the vast majority of their customers don’t watch the NFL and would end up paying for programming they don’t want.
The story, by Adam Thompson, says that the NFL has run out of time to promote the network this season, as only one more live game, Saturday’s match between the Giants and the Redskins, remains on the NFL Network’s schedule. It also says that the NFL was unable to overcome two challenges in promoting its network. First, many rabid football fans already subscribe to DirecTV’s Season Ticket, and can get any game they want, and second, fans get to watch their local teams on broadcast TV.
Time Warner Cable and Cablevision continue to say that they will keep NFL Network on a digital sports tier, where subscribers who want it can pay for it. DirecTV has reported an uptick in Season Ticket subscribers in markets where Time Warner doesn’t carry NFL Network.
WSJ Online subscribers can read the entire story here.