Cablevision Offers Counterproposal to NFL Network

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Your move, NFL Network.

In the ongoing squabble over whether Cablevision Systems subscribers will get to see Rutgers University knock helmets with Kansas State in the Dec. 28 Texas Bowl on NFL Network, the cable operator proffered a new solution early Friday afternoon.

In a letter from Cablevision chief operating officer Thomas Rutledge to NFL Network head Steve Borstein that beat a noon deadline for response, the operator said it would agree to carry the weeklong preview from the network on its digital tier, provided that it could show the Texas Bowl on channel 14, its guide channel that is available as part of its broadcast-basic package.

NFL Network had offered Cablevision a free network preview provided that it ran on its basic service. Cablevision had been saying it would only cover the Rutgers game.

“The NFL Network wants to offer a one-week ‘freeview,’ Cablevision wants to offer the Rutgers game to 100% of our customers; in the spirit of the season, let’s do both,” Rutledge’s missive stated. “In the absence of an agreement between the NFL and a broadcast-television outlet, which is still our first choice and something we hope you will pursue, we are happy to carry the entire one-week NFL Network preview on our digital basic service."

“We are pleased that NFL Network, including the Rutgers appearance in the Texas Bowl, will now be widely available throughout the New York-New Jersey area for six days,” NFL Network communications director Seth Palansky said in a prepared statement. “This is a great opportunity for fans who have not yet seen NFL Network, and we know they will appreciate its high-quality programming.”

The preview would begin Dec. 24 and end at 8 p.m. Dec. 30 when NFL Network’s last live regular-season National Football League game -- the New York Giants at the Washington Redskins -- kicks off.

Time Warner Cable announced earlier this week that it would provide the NFL Network freeview on its digital-basic tier in the New York DMA Dec. 24-30.

And Suddenlink Communications cable systems in west Texas will add NFL Network to expanded basic for the trial, the cable operator and the league said Friday. Those customers are interested in the Insight Bowl, featuring Texas Tech and Minnesota, Friday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. (CST).

Pete Abel of Suddenlink said about 200,000 customers are in the distribution area, where expanded basic has 80% penetration, so about 160,000 customers will be adding NFL Network Dec. 24-30. “This is essentially what we worked out to keep everybody happy for this preview week,” he added.

Suddenlink gave out these Texas locations and what channel will show NFL Network: Lubbock, 55; Plainview, 37; Floydada, 37; Amarillo, 46; Abilene, 38; Sweetwater, 38; Snyder, 40; Midland, 55; Big Springs, 55; Andrews, 55; San Angelo, 51; and Clovis, N.M., 43.

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