NFL-TWC deadlock leaves many fans in dark

By all accounts, Thursday’s Denver Broncos-Cleveland Browns NFL game was a good one. But for most NF
PHOTOGRAPHER:

By all accounts, Thursday’s Denver Broncos-Cleveland Browns NFL game was a good one.

Browns quarterback Brady Quinn’s debut as the starter went well, but the Broncos rallying from a 14-point deficit to win, 34-30,

ruined it.

But for most NFL fans in the Capital Region, the only way you got to see the game was if you had satellite providers DirecTV or Dish Network, because they carry the NFL Network.

Once again, Time Warner Cable subscribers were shut out. Time Warner and the NFL continue to argue over where the NFL Network should be placed on the cable system. The NFL believes its channel belongs on basic cable, while Time Warner thinks it should be placed only on its sports digital tier because if it places it on basic cable, it would be forced to raise rates. Having it on the sports dig­ital tier gives people the option to decide whether or not they want the channel.

This argument has been going on ever since the NFL Network began televising regular-season games in 2006. This is the third year of its Thursday night package. The NFL Network is televising eight games this season.

On Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in Washington that he didn’t think the dispute between his league and Time Warner and other cable companies around the country would be resolved in time for Thursday’s game.

“The negotiations aren’t going at the pace that we would like them to go,” he said. “We start games on Thursday night. We know our fans are going to want to see those games. We hope to get broader distribution for it, and that’s why we’re willing to negotiate, any time and any place.”

Recently, a group of U.S. sen­ators, led by Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), wrote a letter to Goodell about the state of negotiations. Goodell wrote back, and a copy of that letter is available on my blog.

Peter Taubkin, vice president of government relations and public affairs for Time Warner-Albany, responded to Goodell’s letter.

“Time Warner Cable has made an honest effort over the past three years to reach a reasonable carriage agreement with NFL Network,” Taubkin wrote in an e-mail. “However, the NFL has refused our numerous offers to resolve the issue fairly.

“The NFL Network continues to demand tens of millions of dollars a year for a network that airs only eight live regular-season games. Given the price and terms the NFL is currently demanding, the network is simply not worth the price for our customers.”

Here is the question I have for the readers of this column: Do you want to have the NFL Network on basic cable, even if it means an increase in your cable bill, or do you think it should be on the sports digital tier?

I’m interested to hear how you feel. You can send your responses to [email protected] Please include your name and where you live. I will feature the responses in a future column.

football schedules

Here are the college football and NFL games that will be televised over the next week. Announcers (where available), in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporter, are in par­entheses.

NFL

Sunday

Fox (WXXA Ch. 23 and WXXA HD) — St. Louis at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. (Kenny Albert/

Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa).

CBS (WRGB Ch. 6 and WRGB HD) — Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. (Dick Enberg/Randy Cross); Indianapolis at Pittsburgh, 4:15 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).

NBC (WNYT Ch. 13 and WNYT HD) — N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 8:15 p.m. (Al

Michaels/John Madden/Andrea Kramer).

Monday

ESPN and ESPN HD — San Francisco at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser/Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya).

Thursday

NFL Network and NFLN HD — N.Y. Jets at New England, 8:15 p.m. (Bob Papa/Cris Collinsworth).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Today

Time Warner Cable (Ch. 3) and SNY HD — Louisville at Pittsbrugh, noon (Mike Gleason/John Congemi/Quint Kessenich).

ESPN and ESPN HD — Michigan at Minnesota, noon (Pam Ward/Ray Bentley); Clemson at Florida State, 3:30 p.m. (Terry Gannon/David Norrie/Todd Harris); Notre Dame at Boston College, 8 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe).

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Ohio State at Northwestern, noon (Dave Pasch/Andre Ware); Florida at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (Mark Jones/Bob Davie/Todd Harris).

ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Syracuse at Rutgers, noon (Dave Armstrong/Larry Coker); Virginia at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m. (Doug Bell/Charles Arbuckle/Melissa Knowles); Cincinnati at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (Clay Matvick/David Diaz-Infante); Bethune-Cookman at Hampton (same-day tape), 10:30 p.m. (Dwayne Ballen/Eddie Robinson Jr.).

MSG Plus — Baylor at Texas, noon (Joel Meyers/Dave Lapham/Jim Knox); Stanford at Oregon, 3:30 p.m. (Barry Tompkins/Petros Papadakis/Jim Watson).

MY4 (WNYA) — Georgia at Kentucky, 12:30 p.m. (Dave Neal/Dave Archer/Dave Baker).

YES — Yale at Brown, 12:30 p.m. (Chris Shearn/Ross Tucker/Dan Fleschner).

Versus — Iowa State at Colorado, 1:30 p.m. (Ron Thulin/Kelly Stouffer/Lewis Johnson).

Fox College Sports Atlantic — Illinois State at South Dakota State, 2 p.m.; Oregon State at UCLA, 6 p.m. (Bill Macdonald/James Washington/Dain Blanton and Chris McGee).

Fox College Sports Central — Texas State at Southeast Louisiana, 3 p.m. (Doug Anderson/LaDarrin McLane/Dave Knob­ler).

ABC (WTEN Ch. 10 and WTEN HD) — Penn State at Iowa, 3:30 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Bob Griese and Paul Maguire); Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Lisa Salters).

CBS — Alabama at LSU, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).

CBS College Sports — Marshall at East Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Aaron Taylor); Tulane at Houston, 8 p.m. (Tom Hart/Trev Alberts).

Fox College Sports Pacific — Arizona State at Washington, 7 p.m. (Kevin Calabro/Jason Stiles/Nicole Zaloumis).

Tuesday

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Ball State at

Miami (Ohio), 7 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Brock Huard).

Wednesday

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Central Mich­igan at Northern Illinois , 8 p.m. (Rece

Davis/Mark May and Lou Holtz).

ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Toledo at Akron, 8 p.m. (Ari Wolfe/Jim Donnan).

Thursday

ESPNU — Buffalo at Akron, 7 p.m. (Charlie Neal/Jay Walker).

ESPN and ESPN HD — Virginia Tech at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (Chris Fowler/Craig James and Jesse Palmer).

CBS College Sports — Wyoming at UNLV,

8 p.m. (Tom Hart/Dan Fouts).

Friday

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Cincinnati at Louisville, 8 p.m. (Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman).

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