NFL Net Pitches ‘Replay’

4/23/2006 11:00 PM Eastern

NFL Network is expanding the definition of instant replay.

For the first time in the National Football League’s 86 years, league contests next season will be shown outside of their live windows.

Under the “NFL Replay” banner, NFL Network plans to reair four regular-season weekend games per week, at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (EST/PST) Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

NFL Replay -- along with a new eight-game, late-season primetime package of live games -- will be showcased at the network’s first upfront presentation to advertisers in New York Wednesday night.

The league’s network will choose from contests that originally ran on CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, using rights obtained in the most recent set of TV deals. NFL Network also has the rights to reair playoff games, including the Super Bowl.

Games will be distilled into 90-minute versions, with original announcers and crews and devoid of halftime segments and elements not crucial to the outcome. A “director’s cut” will incorporate exclusive shots and camera angles from NFL Films, sideline sounds and press-conference commentary to provide context.

The service controls the commercial inventory in the replay contests, and it will make two to three minutes per hour available to affiliates. The hope is that NFL Replay fare attracts casual fans and, especially, devotees and fantasy-league players who want an edge in assembling next week’s roster.

Vice president of programming Charles Coplin said factors that will determine what games are selected from the prior weekend include on-field quality, playoff implications, record-setting performances and the availability of viewership across the country.

For more on NFL Replay, please see Mike Reynolds’ story on page eight of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.