The long battle between cable giant Comcast and the National Football League’s NFL Network has finally been settled. They’ve agreed on a long-term deal that will move the NFL Network to a more broadly distributed tier.
Financial terms were not revealed, but the New York Times reported that the NFL Network reduced its standard subscriber fee of approximately 70 cents per month to somewhere in the 40-50 cents range to get the deal done. That was preferable to going yet another year with fewer than 40 million cable and satellite subscribers for the network. The position on Comcast’s Digital Classic tier will put the NFL Network in the homes of some 10 million subscribers to the nation’s largest cable MSO. Also, the parties have agreed to drop all litigation in the courts and before the FCC.
According to a joint announcement, the carriage agreement consists of a broad array of video content, including the live (24/7) Network, video on demand for Comcast’s Digital Classic cable customers, and the ability to offer the NFL’s RedZone Channel when it is created.
Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will begin repositioning NFL Network from the Sports Entertainment Package to its Digital Classic level of service with a full launch by August 1, reaching nearly two-thirds of the company’s total digital customer base.
“We are delighted to have come to an agreement with the NFL,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. “Our goal has always been to provide our digital customers with access to the NFL’s unique content and, working together, we have struck the right balance between value and distribution on a variety of viewing platforms. We are looking forward to bringing the NFL’s programming to our customers just in time for the start of the NFL season,” he added.
“We are very pleased that NFL Network and other NFL content will be widely distributed in millions of more homes on Comcast’s service,” said National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We look forward to having NFL Network’s coverage of training camps and the preseason showcased this summer on Comcast. NFL Network is the only TV channel devoted exclusively to football 24/7, 365 days a year.”