SBD/September 24, 2012/Media

NFL Network's Debut On Time Warner Cable Slowed By Technical Issues In Some Areas

Some Time Warner Cable customers "did not get the NFL Network, or its companion service, NFL RedZone, by the time games began Sunday" after the two sides reached a carriage agreement on Friday, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. TWC New York and New Jersey regional spokesperson Eric Mangan said there were “sporadic technical issues affecting some customers.” Sandomir wrote, "On the Time Warner Cable system in Queens that I subscribe to, the channel positions designated for each network, in standard and high definition, did not exist." It was "not known how widespread the problems were locally or nationally." Sandomir noted around 6:00pm ET last night he "finally started getting" the networks (NYTIMES.com, 9/23). TWC and the NFL said a "full launch" of the NFL Network and NFL RedZone will take place before this coming Thursday (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/23). NFL Network President & CEO Steve Bornstein said the expansion to 13 Thursday night games this season from eight last year and last month's deal with Cablevision "added impetus to getting this done" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/22). 

PLANTING SEEDS: FORBES.com's Mike Ozanian wrote the average monthly affiliate fee of $0.95 per subscriber NFL Network generates is "chump change" compared with what the TWC deal will "make it easier for the NFL to do: auction its slate of 13 Thursday night games to another network." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis "believes given the value of NFL football to broadcasters, such an auction could generate $1 billion a year for the league." Ganis said, “Once they make the NFL Network a destination for Thursday night viewers, which they have been gradually doing, the asset will have enormous value the league can either monetize by auctioning the games, or maintain ownership and continue to build the equity value of the network" (FORBES.com, 9/21). However, in L.A., Joe Flint wrote it is "unclear how committed" the NFL is to keeping the additional games "on its channel." Sources indicated that there is "no official contract between the league and the network," which suggests that an additional package of games "could be removed and sold to another network in the future" (LATIMES.com, 9/21).
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