SES Americom announced an agreement Friday with the National Football League to offer the NFL Network to telecom carriers via the satellite provider’s IP-PRIME IPTV service.
IP-PRIME is positioned as a “turnkey” IPTV solution with transport agreements for more than 295 television channels and 100 digital music channels, for IPTV providers in North America. Individual operators must still negotiate carriage with the programmers.
“We’re very pleased to add the NFL Network to our ever-expanding lineup of outstanding sports programming,” IP-PRIME president Bill Squadron said. “The network is a ‘must have’ for our IP-PRIME operators and their football fan customers. With NFL Network on board, IP-PRIME now has more than 30 channels devoted to sports coverage, a key offering of our 300 channel line up.”
On Thursday evening, the NFL held its upfront presentation during which commissioner Roger Goodell said the network will "make it work this year or next year" by expanding distribution. NFL claims the service counts 43 million subscribers while other reports indicate the viewership is closer to 31 million.
NFL Network carries 2,000 hours of original programming per year, including eight live primetime regular-season games and 52 preseason matchups.
To date the league has failed to sign carriage deals with Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications and other cable operators. The NFL Network said it would file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission about Comcast’s alleged “anti-competitive and anti-consumer” discrimination against the network.