Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comcast dropping NFL Network?? Hmmm...

The NFL has been the poster child in recent times on how to promote a league, build up a successful product and generate lots of cash. In most circles, the NFL is the 'she-it', and the other sports aren't even close. One thing I've always thought was the NFL screwed the pooch when they launched the NFL Network. They believed too much of their press and hype, and asked for too much of the moon. They found it hard to find takers to negotiate up to the level they felt they were due for a new channel launch. They had to take their NFL packages into space with DirectTV, and thought fans would be in such an uproar when they took late season games away with their own network coverage. I haven't heard much about that lately.

Now, word is Comcast is going to drop them when their deal expires in April. Note this is on the heels of MLBN launching earlier this year with 50 millions subscribers from the get-go on most cable systems digital tiers, and NBA-TV making arrangements to increase their coverage in a similar way. The NFL would be stupid not to come down off their high horse and settle something to continue to expand their product, instead of looking like greedy bastards. (Oh, sorry, Jerry Jones is their network committee chairman, so scatch that). 

Anyway, the NFL probably would be best served to pitch their NFL package to the cable companies after 2010 (when the DirectTV contract expires) and negotiate with the broader cable companies for coverage. If its good enough for baseball and basketball, it should be ok for the NFL. Otherwise, just go away. 

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