SBD/September 7, 2012/NFL Season Preview

Goodell Frustrated By TWC In Carriage Battle, Pleased By Replacement Refs' Effort

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was "frustrated" by NFL Network's carriage battle with Time Warner Cable, telling an industry conference in N.Y. Thursday that the league would remain patient in its negotiations with the country's second largest cable operator. "We've established the market," he said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit. "It's clear what the market rate is for the NFL Network. We're a little frustrated by it, but we made it clear to Time Warner Cable that we'll do a market-rate deal and we'll be as patient as we need to be." Goodell said the league already has completed several renewals with unnamed cable operators for both NFL Network and NFL RedZone. "If there was a problem with the quality, they wouldn't be renewing at the rate they are renewing," he said. "We see, not only the renewals coming in quickly, we actually see increases off of that." NFL Network starts its package of live games next week.

PRAISING REPLACEMENT REFS: Goodell during the conference praised the work of the replacement officials during the Cowboys-Giants opener Wednesday. He said that the league is “prepared to go indefinitely without a labor deal with the group.” He said the “current gap between the league and referees” is about $50M-70M. Goodell said, "I think our officials did a more than adequate job (Wednesday), and I think we've proven that we can train them and get them up to NFL standards." He added, "I think we were dealing from a position of strength from the get-go. We did this 11 years ago. The game does not stop."
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