It only took 3,244 days. But finally, the NFL Network is coming to Time Warner Cable.
The two sides ended years of bitterness late Friday afternoon when they jointly announced a multiyear deal that will bring the NFL Network and its companion channel, NFL RedZone, to the TWC system starting Sunday. A full launch of NFL Network is expected by Thursday.
NFL Network will be on channel 631 (standard definition) and 1716 (high definition). NFL RedZone will be on channel 632 (SD) and 1717 (HD).
The deal puts NFL Network, which premiered Nov. 4, 2003, on the digital basic and Sports Pass tiers. NFL RedZone, which debuted Sept. 13, 2009, and shows touchdowns from every Sunday afternoon game, will be on the Sports Pass tier. The Sports Pass tier costs $5.95, and features channels like NHL Network, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV.
“We are excited to work with Time Warner Cable to bring fans football 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” NFL Network president and CEO Steve Bornstein said in a statement. “Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to enjoy our weekly ‘Thursday Night Football’ schedule, our award-winning ‘Sunday NFL GameDay’ shows, ‘NFL Total Access,’ NFL Films programming and much more. In addition, the NFL RedZone channel is a truly exciting way to enhance your Sunday football viewing experience each and every week.”
It had been a long, drawn-out process. Heck, I never thought a deal would be made. I believed that the NFL and its officials would have ended their impasse before TWC subscribers saw NFL Network. And I would have bet the NHL lockout would be over before NFL Network saw the light of day on TWC.
Cable companies around the country slowly added the channels. Some of the major players, like TWC and Cablevision, continued to hold out. NFL Network, which has televised a slate of late-season games on Thursday nights since 2006, added more games on Thursdays. That made the channel more attractive.
Cablevision signed on last month, leaving TWC as the only top-10 cable company without the channels. And the pressure started to mount.
Just two weeks ago, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the conflict at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York.
“We’ve established the quality of the NFL Network, which is being carried by every one of the large distributors, with the exception of Time Warner Cable,” Goodell said. “We’ve got tremendous reaction from the fans and the carriers, not just from NFL Network, but from the NFL RedZone channel. We’ve also established the market. It’s clear what the market rate is for the NFL Network. We’re a little frustrated by it, but we made it clear to Time Warner Cable that we’ll do a market rate deal and we’ll be as patient as we need to be. That’s where we are. It’s clear the customers want it and we think that’s in the best interest of their customers, but that’s their decision.
“We’re now getting to the point of renewals with several of our carriers and already completed those renewals. I think if there was a problem with the quality, they wouldn’t be renewing at the rate they are renewing. We see, not only the renewals coming in quickly, we actually see increases off of that.”
Now, there is no more pressure. And, no more countdown. Every NFL fan who has TWC should be happy.
“We’re delighted to have reached an agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone that provides a good value to our customers,” Melinda Witmer, executive vice president and chief video and content officer for Time Warner Cable, said in a statement. “The additional games this year and the proven appeal of NFL RedZone will certainly prove to be a draw for our customers. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the NFL.”
TWC Sports moving
Time Warner Cable of Albany announced Monday that it is moving Time Warner Cable Sports from channel 3 and the Basic Service to channel 50 and Standard Service starting Oct. 17.
TCWS’ high-definition channel will remain at 1803.
With the NHL lockout underway, it will be interesting to see what NBC Sports Group and NHL Network will do to fill the void should the regular season not start Oct. 11.
NBC Sports Network is scheduled to show a double-header that night. An NBC spokesman said, “We are hopeful that the lockout is resolved soon and does not affect our NHL programming. However, if games are missed, we have a large amount of quality live-event programming available to replace them, including soccer, boxing, and college hockey and basketball.”
NHL Network could televise AHL, Canadian major junior and college hockey games. An NHL spokesman said he didn’t know what the network’s plans were.
Here are the upcoming games in the NFL and college football that will be on TV and the Internet. Most of the ESPN and ESPN2 games will also be available on ESPN3, ESPN’s Internet outlet.
Announcers (where available), in order of play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter, are in parentheses:
CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD — N.Y.Jets at Miami, 1 p.m. (Marv Albert/Rich Gannon); Pittsburgh at Oakland, 4:25 p.m. (Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts).
FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD — Tampa Bay at Dallas, 1 p.m. (Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver).
NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD — New England at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Green Bay at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden/Lisa Salters).
NFL Network and NFL HD — Cleveland at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Mike Mayock/Alex Flanagan).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Virginia at TCU, noon (Dave Pasch/Brian Griese/Jenn Brown); LSU at Auburn, 7 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe); Arizona at Oregon, 10:30 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Matt Millen/Shelley Smith).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — UTEP at Wisconsin, noon (Beth Mowins/Joey Galloway/Lewis Johnson); Oregon State at UCLA, 3:30 p.m. (Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman/Quint Kessenich); Vanderbilt at Georgia, 7:45 p.m. (Mark Jones/Brock Huard/Maria Taylor).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Bowling Green at Virginia Tech, noon (Tom Hart/John Congemi); East Carolina at North Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (Anish Shroff/Dan Hawkins); Rutgers at Arkansas, 7 p.m. (Clay Matvick/Matt Stinchcomb/Allison Williams); Howard at Norfolk State (same-day tape), 10:30 p.m. (Joe Davis/Jay Walker).
FX and FX HD — Maryland at West Virginia, noon (Justin Kutcher/Eric Crouch/Darius Walker); Colorado at Washington State, 4 p.m. (Craig Bolerjack/Joel Klatt/Petros Papadakis).
MSG and MSG HD — Kentucky at Florida, noon (Dave Neal/Andre Ware/Cara Capuano).
NBC Sports Network and NBCSN HD — Yale at Cornell, 1 p.m. (Todd Harris/Blaine Fowler/Kelli Johnson); Harvard at Brown, 4:30 p.m. (Randy Moss/Ross Tucker/Carolyn Manno); Nevada at Hawaii, 10:30 p.m. (Paul Burmeister/Rod Woodson/Anthony Herron).
CBS Sports Network and CBSSN HD — Lafayette at Bucknell, noon (Dave Ryan/Ron Zook/Evan Washburn); VMI at Navy, 3:30 p.m. (Grant Boone/Todd Christensen/Sheehan Stanwick Burch); Fresno State at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (James Bates/Aaron Taylor/Lauren Gardner).
Big Ten Network and BTN HD — Alabama-Birmingham at Ohio State, noon (Eric Collins/Derek Rackley/Lisa Byington); Eastern Michigan at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (Matt Devlin/Glen Mason/Rebecca Haarlow); Syracuse at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (Matt Shepard/Chris Martin/Jay Wilson).
ESPN3 — Massachusetts at Miami (Ohio), noon (Michael Reghi/Doug Graber); Furman at Presbyterian, noon; Connecticut at Western Michigan, 2 p.m. (Dan Gutowsky/Bob Chmeil/Brooke Weisbrod); Norfolk State at Ohio, 2 p.m. (Keith Morehouse/Jerod Cherry); Southern Illinois at Missouri State, 2 p.m.; Miami at Georgia Tech, 3 p.m. (Paul Kennedy/Keith Jones/Jenn Hildreth); Kansas at Northern Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (Jim Barbar/John Bunting); Gardner-Webb at Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m. (Shawn Kenney/John Gregory/Rontina McCann); Prairie View A&M at North Dakota State, 4 p.m.; Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas, 4 p.m.; Wyoming at Idaho, 5 p.m. (Peter Young/John Fina); Florida Atlantic at Alabama, 5 p.m.; The Citadel at North Carolina State, 6 p.m. (Mike Gleason/Paul McGuire/Sarah Stankavage); Memphis at Duke, 6 p.m. (Ryan Rose/Doug Chapman/Beth McDade); South Alabama at Mississippi State, 7 p.m.; Southern Mississippi at Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. (Dave Weekley/Cory Chavous); Troy at North Texas, 7 p.m. (Jonathon Yardley/Stan Lewter); Coastal Carolina at Toledo, 7 p.m. (Frank Giardina/Robert Griffith); Alcorn State at Arkansas State, 7 p.m. (Brock Bowling/Forrest Conoly); Louisville at Florida International, 7 p.m. (Drew Fellios/Rene Ingoglia/Anastasia Saunders); Northern Iowa at Youngstown State, 7 p.m.; Akron at Tennessee, 7:30 p.m. (Matt Stewart/Chris Doering/Angela Mallen); New Mexico at New Mexico State, 8 p.m. (Trey Bender/Jay Taylor); Langston at Lamar, 8 p.m.
MY4 and MY4 HD — Army at Wake Forest, 12:30 p.m. (Steve Martin/Dave Archer/Mike Hogewood).
Time Warner Cable Sports-3 and TWCS-3 HD — Colby at Williams, 1 p.m.
Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 HD — California at Southern California, 6 p.m. (Ted Robinson/Glenn Parker/Ryan Nece); Utah at Arizona State, 10 p.m (Kevin Calabro/Adam Archuleta/Yogi Roth).
CBS6 and CBS6 HD — Missouri at South Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).
ABC10 (WTEN) and ABC10 HD — Temple at Penn State, 3:30 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Ed Cunningham/Jeannine Edwards); Clemson at Florida State, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Heather Cox).
FOX College Sports Pacific — Indiana (Pa.) at California (Pa.), 3:30 p.m. (Stan Savern/John Sanders).
SNY and SNY HD — South Florida at Ball State, 4:30 p.m. (Eamon McAnaney/David Diaz-Infante).
MSG Plus and MSG Plus HD — Wagner at Central Connecticut State, 7 p.m. (Paul Dottino/Steve Levy).
FOX College Sports Atlantic — Lehigh at Liberty, 7 p.m. (Steve Degler/Mike Yadush).
FOX College Sports Central — South Carolina State at Texas A&M, 7 p.m. (Bob Rathbun/Tim Couch/Elizabeth Moreau).
NBC13 and NBC13 HD — Michigan at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (Tom Hammond/Mike Mayock/Alex Flanagan).
FOX23 and FOX23 HD — Kansas State at Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. (Gus Johnson/Charles Davis/Julie Alexandria).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Morgan State at North Carolina A&T, 7:30 p.m. (Joe Davis/Jay Walker).
CBS Sports Network and CBSSN HD — Wingate at Carson Newman, 8 p.m.
ESPN and ESPN HD — Stanford at Washington, 9 p.m. (Rece Davis/Jesse Palmer and David Pollack/Samantha Steele).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Hawaii at BYU, 8 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Rod Gilmore/Jemele Hill).