Saturday, December 29, 2007

NFL Network Battles Cable During New England Game

Right now it is half time of the New England and New York Giants game and so far I have seen several commercials run by the NFL Network that are direct slams at major cable companies Time Warner and Comcast. With tonight's football game pulling in ratings from two broadcast networks, (CBS and NBC) and additional viewers on the regular NFL Network channel, the NFL has an opportunity to reach potentially 100 million viewers with their side of the story in this dispute. While the NFL wants all of us to blame our local cable company for this dispute, in reality it is the NFL that is trying to force cable companies to provide the NFL Network on basic cable instead of tiered service.

It will be interesting to see how two of the nations largest cable companies, Time Warner and Comcast, respond to tonight's PR bonanza pulled off by the NFL Network as millions of additional people are seeing NFL Network ads blasting cable companies. I believe in the free market and if the consumer wants the NFL Network on basic cable they will pressure their cable company to offer it that way or they will find another way to get it cheaper. The NFL in this dispute is after one thing and that is more money for it's network and for NFL team owners. I was happy to see the NFL decide to show tonight's game on CBS and NBC. I will be even more interested in seeing how many people watched tonight's game when the overnight ratings come out tomorrow and Monday.

Unfortunately, the NFL is moving slowly to a pay-per-view format which is something I want to see delayed as long as possible. Members of Congress recently threatened the NFL's anti-trust exemption if they did not find a way to work through this dispute without further fan disruption. It was pretty interesting to see how quickly the NFL decided to offer tonight's New England Patriots and New York Giants game not only on one broadcast network, but two at the same time. The power of NFL football was on full display this week when NBC and CBS were willing to dump regular programming just to have a chance at a large audience tonight, even if it is split between two different networks. This fight between billionaire cable companies and billionaire NFL team owners needs to come to an end before next season begins.

Read more about the NFL:

Tonight's New England Patriots/New York Giants Game
NBC/CBS/NFL Network To Broadcast New England Patriots Game
Will The New England Patriots Go Undefeated in 2007?
NFL Network Ruins Holidays For Millions Of Fans
December 22 Dallas Cowboys Game On NFL Network

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