No Cable Yardage for NFL Network


Three weeks before its Nov. 4 kickoff, the fledgling NFL Network has yet to hit paydirt on any cable carriage deals.

While it’s offering a rate card of between 10 cents and 15 cents per subscriber, per month, operators said the network is still insisting on expanded-basic and even analog distribution -- placement that is out of bounds for many operators that are looking to direct sports networks to digital tiers.

"They’ve come to us and told us what their plans are and what they would like to have. And we’ve told them that we don’t think there’s sufficient value in the proposition to do a deal at the moment," Time Warner Cable senior vice president of programming Fred Dressler said.

A Cox Communications Inc. spokesman also said the MSO currently plans to punt on the network: "We’ve met with NFL Network representatives. However, issues of content, pricing, packaging and the unavailability of [the NFL] Sunday Ticket [National Football League out-of-market package] are preventing us from reaching a distribution agreements."

NFL Network executives said Dressler is negotiating in the press -- a practice it won’t follow -- and they remain confident that they will score cable distribution by the launch date.

As part of its Sunday Ticket pact, direct-broadcast satellite service DirecTV Inc. will carry the network at launch.