There has been an ongoing battle between the NFL Network and the major cable providers because the cable networks will not make the NFL Network a part of the basic tier of channels, and want to charge extra for it. As a result the NFL Network is almost halfway away from their goal of having 65 million subscribers.
Just as any bully acts when they don’t get things their way, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, also the chairman of the league’s Network Committee, has started to stomp his feet and hold his breath. Jones has been urging people to drop cable and switch over to DirecTV just so that they can watch the Cowboys/Packers game next weekend.
As a matter of fact, Comcast — the nation's leading cable provider — has sent Jones a cease and desist letter, telling him to stop urging people to drop cable in favor of satellite. When you realize that Comcast, Time-Warner and Cablevision don’t offer the NFL Network, it’s clear why the Jones and the NFL Network are crying to the consumers.
I find it interesting that Jones didn’t throw his NFL-sanctioned tantrum last week before the kickoff of the NFL Network’s 8-game slate that started with the Colts/Falcons game on Thanksgiving night. I’d pay not to have to watch that game – the Colts won 31-13 - and I certainly don’t care about most of the other games on their schedule.
Here are the games that are scheduled to appear on the NFL Network: Cowboys-Packers, Bears-Steelers, Broncos-Texans, Bengals-49ers, Steelers-Rams, Cowboys-Panthers and Patriots-Giants. Not exactly must-see NFL TV, as there are at most two interesting match ups. And remember, if you’re in the home market you get these games on a local channel anyway.
The NFL is wrong for a lot of reasons, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m 100% behind the cable networks.
Since the cable networks are not able to offer the NFL Sunday Ticket package, they shouldn’t have to offer just a part of the NFL’s product. From a business standpoint I understand how cable providers must feel, in that their competition – satellite networks – have been given a huge and unfair advantage.
If the NFL and Jerry Jones are so concerned with getting the games into as many homes as possible, all the cable networks would have access to the NFL Sunday Ticket package. Jones and the NFL are basically partners with these satellite systems and his comments should be viewed as nothing more than a sales pitch that’s motivated by greed; Jones and the NFL could care less about the overall quality of the programming that people get, they just care about their bottom line.