NFL Net Kicks Off on Dish

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EchoStar Communications Corp. has added NFL Network to its Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service’s “America’s Top 120” programming package.

The NFL Network agreement -- which will put the network in a total of more than 35 million homes -- came one week after Dish agreed to carry College Sports Television.

In July, EchoStar added Paul Allen’s Sporting News TV to its interactive-TV lineup, offering customers headline news, scores, standings and statistics for major sports.

NFL Network said that if it can secure 2.5 million more U.S. subscribers by November, it will set the industry record for the most subscribers ever for a two-year old network, surpassing Turner Network Television, which had 37.5 million at the end of its second year.

NFL Network already holds the one-year industry record, having reached 22 million subscribers.

“Adding Dish Network to our list of distributors is like adding Tom Brady or Michael Vick to your football team,” NFL Network senior vice president of distribution Adam Shaw said in a prepared statement. “This was a key missing piece of the NFL Network team, and we are thrilled that Dish Network is on our roster.”

EchoStar rival DirecTV Inc. was the first distributor to launch NFL Network in 2003.

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