Cable Technology Feature Article
Impasse between Time Warner and NFL Finally Ends
By Mini Swamy, TMCnet Contributor
Football aficionados heaved a sigh of relief as the impasse between National Football League (NFL) and Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable (TWC) ended as they signed a multiyear accord, making the league owned network and RedZone Channel available to millions across the United States.
In addition, Time Warner Cable has also negotiated an NFL Network agreement for Bright House Networks, a smaller cable provider with 2.5 million customers.
As a result of the partnership, customers will now get to watch an additional175 HD channels and also sports channels such as the Big Ten Network and the Tennis Channel, while NFL network will cement its position as a 'must have channel' for distributors.
The last cable provider to sign an agreement with the NFL network was Cablevision in August, 2012 and no details of that deal or the present contract with TWC are available. However, the latest deal saw TWC shares close up 0.9 percent to $94.46.
SNL Kagan noted that NFL Network is considered as one of the most expensive cable networks and estimates that it charges 95 cents per subscriber per month in affiliate fees.
While the NFL channel will reportedly become a part of TWC's digital program package, the RedZone channel will be added to TWC's sports bar.
The NFL Network broadcasts regular season prime time games and the RedZone is a game-day network that shows touchdowns and important plays inside the 20-yard line, which will be broadcast on Sundays.
Fans are in for an exciting time as NFL Network is airing 13 prime time regular season games this year as against eight in the previous years.
According to Melinda Witmer, chief video and content officer at TWC, the agreement Time Warner reached with the NFL "provides a good value" to customers because of the additional games the network added this year.
Although the channel will be available on 23rd September 2012, the first live game Time Warner customers can watch will be on Thursday between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.
Time Warner Cable is also set to debut its first regional sports channels in the Los Angeles area after outbidding Fox sports. This deal is yet to be finalized. TWC will also launch an English-language network and a Spanish-language network on Oct 1, 2012.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman