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NFL Loses, We Win ... Finally!

By Rob Trahan(12,495) Rob Trahan

Posted Friday, December 28, 2007
View All Blog Posts submitted by Rob Trahan

I love a good story about the big guys getting knocked down a peg. Probably because I've never gotten to be a big guy.

The latest big guy to get knocked down is the NFL. True, their ongoing war with Time Warner and Comcast pits big guy against big guy, but in this case the NFL has been acting with much more arrogance and selfishness. It's sad that Congress had to step in to get them to step back.

Here's the story. The NFL launched the NFL Network a few years ago. The goal was to cash in on the revenue brought in by airing games on national TV. Instead of handing over all that revenue to other networks (for a fee, of course), the NFL was convinced they could do the same thing just as well and keep all the money for themselves.

They hit a snag when the big cable companies put the NFL Network in premium bundles instead of their basic packages. The NFL Network doesn't make as much money if fewer people subscribe to it.

Why wouldn't the cable companies just put the network on their basic packages? If people want it, what's the problem? The problem is the NFL was  charging the cable companies an insane amount of money for what amounted to a seasonal channel. More, in fact, than they pay for CNN, a 24-hour news channel. Understandably, the cable guys balked.

Step two in the NFL's plan for world domination was to get cable subscribers mad enough at the carriers that they would be forced to do the NFL's bidding. The NFL was counting on airing at least one contest on the NFL Network that was important enough that people would be enraged when they couldn't watch it. Those people, the NFL assumed, would then flood the cable companies with complaints and Time Warner and Comcast would see the error of their ways. The big game came earlier in the season when Dallas played Green Bay on Thursday night. The NFL was giddy! Until the move backfired. The public outcry was minimal. In fact, I saw more about how the NLF was to blame than the cable companies.

The NFL was hoping that they could try again this weekend. The Patriots look to complete their historic undefeated season this Saturday against the New York Giants on, you guessed it, the NFL Network. Surely folks would demand to see this one! Well, they did. But again they demanded of the wrong people.

US Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Spector, both of the Senate Judiciary Committee, threatened to review the NFL's anti-trust exemption if they didn't work something out. And Senator John Kerry said he'd seek Senate hearings on "how the emergence of premium sports channels are impacting the consumer" if this weekend's game wasn't put on NBC.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell caved, big time. Not only will the game air on NBC, but also on CBS (and the NFL Network). And the cable companies are snickering to themselves.

At what point will the NFL stop to think about what would be the best for their customers, the fans? And at what point will the fans do enough to force the NFL to do just that? As long as we continue to sell out stadiums and drive the TV ratings up, the NFL will believe they can do anything to us and we'll keep coming back. Including limiting Sunday Ticket to DirecTV subscribers and charging cable customers $.80 for the NFL Network. It's about time we stood up and defended ourselves. Take the NFL's preferred form of attack. Call or write your Congressman and ask him or her to look into the NFL's actions regarding the television broadcasts of their games. Turn the tables on them for a change.

In the meantime, enjoy the game Saturday night. It won't be hard to find!

This Blog Post has been read 191 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Friday, December 28, 2007
View other posts by Rob Trahan

Comments on this blog post:

Mike Fak: (156 days 12 hours ago.)
Good article Rob and good research. In the Midwest we are also seeing the same crap with the Big Ten Network taking over most Big Ten games and it has people up in arms as the conference is demanding $1.25 per viewer. Cable put it in a premium tier package that costs $8 per month along with other less interesting stations. Everyone is switching to Dish but the whole idea is ridiculous. The greed is amazing. Mike Fak

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