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CNBC's Darren Rovell: NFL Network Has A Chance

Monday, November 26, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 2:31 PM, under , , , , , ,

Athens, GA (Nov 26, 2007) - Last Friday, Darren Rovell of CNBC offered his take on the ongoing battle between the NFL Network and Cable Operators:

League execs and the owners know that if the NFL Network doesn't increase its carriage over the next month, the NFL Network will be stuck for another season. Once the games are done, the carriers have no impetus to do anything.

But the league has two things going for it this time around.

The network only has eight games, yet two of them might be the second and third most coveted games of the season, behind the Patriots/Colts game in Week 9.
He goes on:
When the league gave $400 million worth of games to itself for the next six years, league officials were admitting that only games would be able to pressure the cable carriers to pick up the network on expanded basic instead of on an a-la-carte option.

But, what has become clear is that games themselves don't exert enough pressure. Today, only 30 percent of the U.S. population gets the NFL Network. Why? The people who really care are mostly in the local markets and even when something airs on the NFL Network, it is required to be shown in the local markets.
and finally he concludes by saying:
If the big cable carriers don't buckle before Thursday - and they've been quite resistant so far - the NFL could get one more shot in the week leading up to Patriots-Giants. And if it doesn't happen then, the NFL Network is on track to be the least successful part of the entire NFL engine.
Rovell has skirted the bigger issue here. The NFL Network is creating a monopoly their broadcast partners can ill-afford to buck against. The only real people losing here are the fans being asked to pay more now for what they have been getting free for years. When are the fans going to stand up to be counted?

You can read more on Rovell's Sports Biz Column over at CNBC. (I cannot call it a blog because it does not allow comments).

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