DON’T LET COMCAST DEPRIVE YOU OF BRONCOS FOOTBALL
By Steve Bornstein
Football fans across the country tuned in to last weekend’s NFL Draft in large numbers and are eagerly anticipating the upcoming team minicamps and all the other news that they follow closely all year round on NFL Network.
NFL Network will continue to cover those rookies – including the Denver Broncos draft choices – and the rest of the NFL like no one else, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Fans will get a unique inside look at minicamps, training camps, their favorite players and coaches, and more than 60 regular season and preseason games later this year.
Unfortunately, as many of you are aware, starting this Friday, May 1 – the first day of minicamp for the Broncos and 24 other teams – Comcast will not carry NFL Network, denying you the unique access and special coverage that only NFL Network delivers.
Based on the fan interest in the NFL, NFL Network should be broadly available to Comcast subscribers. Comcast, however, wants to continue to limit access to NFL Network by charging consumers extra for it. We strongly disagree. Comcast refuses to reach a new agreement with NFL Network to make it available to a larger number of subscribers without the extra monthly fee that Comcast now sets and collects for our network on its sports tier.
Comcast discriminates against networks like NFL Network because we are independent. Do you know why you get the Golf Channel and Versus on a basic level of cable service? Both are owned by Comcast, which makes its own channels broadly available.
Do you wonder why the recently launched MLB Network’s coverage of the Rockies and other baseball teams is broadly available and offered to fans without an extra monthly fee? Once again, the answer is Comcast has an ownership interest in the MLB Network.
Networks like NFL Network and other programming options are not owned by the largest cable companies. Instead of negotiating with independent programmers, those cable companies discriminate against them in favor of their own services.
In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Media Bureau ruled that we had demonstrated that Comcast discriminated and retaliated against NFL Network and ordered an Administrative Law Judge to conduct additional proceedings. Our goal is for the major cable companies to negotiate fairly and not discriminate.
We have until April 30 to negotiate a new agreement with Comcast similar to the contracts NFL Network has with more than 300 other cable operators, Telco and satellite companies across the country. We hope that Comcast will act responsibly, negotiate with us in good faith, and keep the best interests of the fans in mind.
You do have options. Log on to IWantNFLNetwork.com to find out how to get NFL Network and your Broncos.
The author is President & CEO of NFL Network