I’m getting tired of hearing and writing about the dispute between the NFL and Time Warner Cable over the NFL Network.
The NFL believes its channel should be on basic cable, while Time Warner thinks the channel belongs on the digital tier only, which means it would be up to its cable subscribers whether or not they want the channel.
Things will come to a head in the next two weeks. The NFL Network will televise the New York Giants at the Denver Broncos on Thursday. The following Thursday, it will have the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Giants, Jets and Bills fans will be calling me wondering why they can’t watch the game. I got some calls last Thursday about the Chicago-San Francisco game not being on TV here.
I have a suggestion for both sides: Find an office, get in there, lock the door and don’t come out until you have an agreement. If it means missing Thanksgiving dinner, so be it.
There has to be a way to find a compromise. Maybe Time Warner says to the NFL, “Look, we will put your channel on basic cable for a year. We will have to charge our subscribers more for the channel. If, after a year, they balked at the price increase, we then get to move your network to the sports digital tier, where subscribers who want the channel will pay for it.”
But I don’t think the NFL would go for that. I think it has overestimated the value of its channel. While the network has plenty of programming, it only televises eight regular-season games. I know I don’t want to pay extra for a channel that has that few games.
Time Warner can also point to Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL who have their own channels. All three are on the sports digital tier, and I don’t hear them complaining.
So, to the NFL and Time Warner, please get something done soon. I will be very happy to write about a deal being struck. I won’t be happy writing another story about two organizations that refuse to budge in negotiations.
Jon Gruden won’t be returning to the NFL sidelines any time soon.
He signed a multiyear deal with ESPN earlier this week. He will appear on ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage, and he will call the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl in South Florida on Jan. 31, 2010.
Gruden will also serve as an analyst for ESPN Radio’s 2010 Rose Bowl and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game broadcasts.
“Working with Mike, Jaws [Ron Jaworski] and our entire ‘Monday Night Football’ team is the most fun I have had in years, and I am fired up to make this long-term commitment to ESPN,” Gruden said.
Manny Pacquiao proved he is a box-office hit.
Pacquiao’s big win over Miguel Cotto on Saturday was the biggest boxing show of the year, selling 1.25 million pay-per-view buys to best the 1.05 million sold by Floyd Mayweather Jr. for his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez in September. The television gross was $70 million, meaning both fighters will pocket millions of dollars more than their guaranteed purses.
NFL, college schedules
Here is the schedule of NFL, college football and United Football League games that will be televised over the next week.
Fox (WXXA Ch. 23 and WXXA HD) — Atlanta at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m. (Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa).
CBS (WRGB Ch. 6 and WRGB HD) — Buffalo at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. (Bill Macatee/Steve Beuerlein); N.Y. Jets at New England, 4:15 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).
NBC (WNYT Ch. 13 and WNYT HD) — Philadelphia at Chicago, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Andrea Kremer).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Tennessee at Houston, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski/Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya).
Fox and Fox HD — Green Bay at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. (Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver).
CBS and CBS HD — Oakland at Dallas, 4 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).
NFL Network and NFL HD — N.Y. Giants at Denver, 8:20 p.m. (Bob Papa/Matt Millen).
Time Warner Cable channel 1 — Louisville at South Florida, noon (Mike Gleason/John Congemi/Quint Kessenich).
ABC (WTEN Ch. 10 and WTEN HD) — Ohio State at Michigan, noon (Sean McDonough/Matt Millen/Holly Rowe); Penn State at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Craig James/Heather Cox), Oregon at Arizona, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Lisa Salters).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Minnesota at Iowa, noon (Dave Pasch/Bob Griese); Virginia at Clemson, 3:30 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Brian Griese); Kansas State at Nebraska, 7:45 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Erin Andrews).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — North Carolina at Boston College, noon (Pam Ward/Ray Bentley); Kentucky at Georgia, 7:45 p.m. (Mark Jones/Bob Davie).
Versus and Versus HD — Harvard at Yale, noon (TBA); San Diego State at Utah, 4 p.m. (Tim Neverett/Glenn Parker/Lindsay Soto); California at Stanford, 7:30 p.m. (Ron Thulin/Kelly Stouffer/Lewis Johnson).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Duke at Miami, noon (Clay Matvick/David Diaz-Infante); North Carolina State at Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m. (Todd Harris/Charles Arbuckle); Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 7 p.m. (Eric Collins/Brock Huard); Nevada at New Mexico State, 10:20 p.m. (Terry Gannon/David Norrie).
MSG Plus — Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 12:30 p.m. (Joel Meyers/Dave Lapham/Joel Klatt and Jim Knox).
Fox College Sports Central — Lehigh at Lafayette, 12:30 p.m. (Gary Laubach/John Leone/Dan Mowdy).
Time Warner Cable channel 3 — UAlbany at Wagner, 1 p.m. (Paul Dottino/Matt Harmon).
NBC and NBC HD — Connecticut at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. (Tom Hammond/Pat Haden/Alex Flanagan).
ESPN Classic — Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M, 2:30 p.m.(Charlie Neal/Jay Walker).
CBS and CBS HD — LSU at Mississippi, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).
CBS College Sports and CBS College Sports HD — Air Force at Brigham Young, 3:30 p.m. (Tom Hart/Aaron Taylor); Tulsa at Southern Mississippi, 7:30 p.m. (Dave Ryan/Akbar Gbaja-Biamila).
Big Ten Network and Big Ten HD — Wisconsin at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m. (Wayne Larrivee/Chris Martin/Charissa Thompson).
Fox College Sports Pacific — Arizona State at UCLA, 4 p.m. (Barry Tompkins/Petros Papadakis/Michael Eaves).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Ball State at Western Michigan, 7 p.m. (Rece Davis/Lou Holtz and Mark May).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Tuskegee vs Alabama State, 4 p.m. (Charlie Neal/TBA).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Texas at Texas A&M, 8 p.m. (Chris Fowler/Craig James and Jesse Palmer/Erin Andrews).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Rutgers at Louisville, 11 a.m.; Pittsburgh at West Virginia, 7 p.m.; Nevada at Boise State, 10 p.m.
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Temple at Ohio, 11 a.m. (Dan McLaughlin/Tom Luginbill).
ABC and ABC HD — Illinois at Cincinnati, noon; Nebraska at Colorado, 3:30 p.m.
CBS and CBS HD — Alabama at Auburn, 2:30 p.m. (Craig Bolerjack/Steve Beuerlein).
CBS College Sports and CBS College Sports HD — Memphis at Tulsa, 3:30 p.m.
UNITED FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Versus and Versus HD — Championship game: Florida at Las Vegas, 3 p.m. (Dave Sims/Doug Flutie/Kordell Stewart).