Almost a decade after its kickoff and now in its seventh campaign presenting primetime games, NFL Network has finally reached a carriage deal with No. 2 cable operator Time Warner Cable.
The multiyear agreement paves the way for the launch of NFL Network and its ad hoc Sunday afternoon scoring channel, NFL RedZone, on a number of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems in time for the Sept. 23 contests. A full rollout is expected in time for NFL Network’s third Thursday Night Football telecast, Cleveland-Baltimore, on Sept. 27.
Financial terms were not disclosed but Time Warner Cable and Bright House -- TWC negotiates its programming contracts – will offer NFL Network on their Digital Basic and Sports Pass tiers, while NFL RedZone will be available to Sports Pass customers.
The pact with the nation’s second- and sixth-largest cable companies follows the deal the nation’s most popular sports league struck with Cablevision in August. NFL Network and its sister service are now available on all of the nation’s top providers.
When the contract for NFL Network and RedZone with Insight expired on July 31, Time Warner Cable dropped the services from those systems the following day. Time Warner Cable purchased Insight for some $3 billion in February.
That marked the second time a Time Warner Cable acquisition intercepted NFL Network's subscriber roster. The operator in September 2006 punted the network from systems serving 1 million customers it acquired from Adelphia Communications and swapped with Comcast as part of the two largest MSOs' purchase of the bankrupt operator.
Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are major cable providers in the home markets for 12 NFL teams: Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Diego and Tampa Bay. Beginning with this season, NFL Network has expanded its primetime slate of games to 13 from eight.
“We’re delighted to have reached an agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone that provides a good value to our customers,” said Melinda Witmer, executive vice president and chief video and content officer for Time Warner Cable, in a statement. “The additional games this year and the proven appeal of NFL RedZone will certainly prove to be a draw for our customers. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the NFL.”
“We thank our customers for their patience while a fair deal was reached for all involved,” said Steve Miron, CEO, Bright House Networks. “It is especially rewarding to say yes to our customers who have requested NFL Network’s award-winning coverage.”
Noted NFL Network president and CEO Steve Bornstein: “We are excited to work with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to bring fans football 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers will be able to enjoy our weekly Thursday Night Football schedule, our award-winning Sunday NFL GameDay shows, NFL Total Access, NFL Films programming and much more. In addition, the NFL RedZone channel is a truly exciting way to enhance your Sunday football viewing experience each and every week.”
Bloomberg was the first to report on the deal Friday morning, with Multichannel News among the other outlets confirming the agreement via sources familiar with the negotiations.