NFL Network has scored a long-term carriage pact with the National Cable Television Cooperative.
The master agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, will enable NCTC members to strike agreements for NFL Network, as well as its NFL RedZone scoring channel.
The pro football league anticipates announcing deals for the network and NFL RedZone, the ad hoc channel that whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen and in high definition, with co-op members in the weeks ahead.
Seventeen of the top 20 cable operators in the United States are NCTC members, including Cablevision, Charter and Suddenlink, three of the notable holdouts from NFL Network's distribution roster. Those operators, along with Time Warner Cable, have balked at carrying NFL Network over pricing and positioning issues.
All told, NCTC, which functions as a buying organization for video services and hardware for its members, serves more than 26.7 million cable subscribers, the most of any distributor in the U.S.
"There is no shortage of sports networks seeking distribution, but NFL Network has proven to be both the premiere sports television franchise and one often requested by cable subscribers," said NCTC president and CEO Jeff Abbas in a statement. "NCTC is happy to help members kick-off the football season with a new master agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone. NCTC appreciates NFL Network's recognition and accommodation of the unique needs of our diverse membership."
"The NFL season is here and we are pleased that NFL Network and NFL RedZone will now be available to NCTC members," added John Malkin, vice president affiliate relations NFL Network. "More fans can now enjoy the only network dedicated entirely to football featuring every preseason NFL game and Thursday Night Football regular season games, as well as the exciting NFL RedZone that highlights every touchdown from every game on Sunday afternoons."