Comcast Sends Cease And Desist Letter To The NFL

Comcast is fed up with the NFL telling its customers to switch providers because the cable company has chosen to offer the NFL network only on their sports tier.

Recently, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told customers of both Comcast and Time Warner Cable to cancel those services and switch to other providers that offer the NFL Network. The NFL Network also maintains a website, iwantnflnetwork.com, that includes a box proclaiming “MAKE THE SWITCH,” and the phrase “Switch to a TV provider that will bring you NFL Network, not hold you hostage.”

The NFL Network has already sued Comcast over the issue and lost. Now Comcast has sent a cease and desist letter to the NFL Network over the “switch” campaign.

From the AP:

The letter requests that the network confirm in writing by the close of business Friday that it has halted its efforts to influence customers. Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said she didn’t want to speculate what the company would do if its demands were not met

The NFL Network is set to kick-off their live game coverage this Thursday with the ultimate “ Byron Leftwich Joey Harrington vs. Peyton Manning” showdown. Snore.

Comcast sends NFL cease-and-desist note [PhillyBurbs]
(Photo:minds-eye)

Comments

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  1. kenposan says:

    I don’t think it’s up to the NFL to tell Comcast how to offer the channel. Hell, I don’t think there is any requirement that Comcast carry it at all.

    (Why, oh good why, am I on comcast’s side?)

  2. Skiffer says:

    Yeah, I know – it’s weird…but I do agree with Comcast on this one.

    Their whole “Switch” campaign is getting annoying – I hope the cease and desist order goes through…

  3. Bladefist says:

    I prefer a network without any NFL channels. yawn-fest

  4. Jozef says:

    Neither Comcast nor the NFL would have this problem if we finally had the a la carte cable offering. I’d be more than happy to send all sports channels packing from my TV set.

  5. Bladefist says:

    I hope the FCC rules in favor of letting consumers pick the channels they want, instead of making us pay for channels we dont want. Normally I am in favor of the free market, and less government, but since none of the companies are going to step up, I guess I have to rely on the government to medal in such stupid little things.

  6. stephenjames716 says:

    it’s all about the direct tv

  7. parad0x360 says:

    How can they sue for telling people to dump cable and go with a dish or something else? If DirectTV can say switch why cant the NFL?

    For that matter why doesnt the NFL just stop broadcasting with Comcast at all. Im sure there is a contract but…it will expire at some point.

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    The only time I ever watch sports channels is to show off the HD image.

  9. mechanismatic says:

    I don’t see that either side is the side to be on. They’re both in the business of abusing consumers – the NFL with its unreasonable interpretation of copyrights and Comcast with its crazy rates and poor customer service.

  10. dwinn says:

    What’s the next step for Comcast: C&D letter to AT&T to stop *them* from telling people to make the switch?

    “Attention, all of my competitors — you are not allowed to tell anyone to drop my service and use yours instead.”

    This is the dumbest action to take in the history of stupid.

  11. BrienBear Thinks Stupidity Defies Logic says:

    Just a dumb question here, but if this DOES go through for Comcast, does that mean that anyone who wants to influence people to switch to something else can’t do it ? IE the guy who bought a car at XYZ dealership can’t make a website now telling what happened and encourage people to look elsewhere for cars? I’m not trying to have a “sky is falling” attitude here, I just have to wonder what the repercussions will be if they take the NFL channel to task.

  12. ekthesy says:

    I’d be glad to trade Comcast my access to the NFL Network for access to the NHL Network. For some reason the NHL Network isn’t available in my area (with four local hockey teams!) and the outsourced CSR “Benjamin” wasn’t able to tell me a damn thing.

    Me like hockey!

  13. bob9 says:

    So then Comcast cannot tell me to Ditch the Dish anymore.

  14. MikeHerbst says:

    @bob9:

    I think you’ve nailed it. As long as this is a part of their own business practice, I think they’re on shaky ground suing to keep someone else from doing it.

  15. HOP says:

    i like the idea of free choice of channels…i could dump 90% of the ones i’m stuck with now….must get 10 or 15 shopping channels…..don’t subscribe to any of the “premium” channels….they repeat the movies over and over…..after a month, i’ve seen all they have to offer….as far as the nfl, i used to be a balto colt fan….till they left the area….watching the nfl now is watching plastic people, computer controlled, playing on plastic fields in plastic stadiums….give me a good jr college game any day

  16. akronharry says:

    So the NFL Network wants to have their channel drop down to what….the basic tier so we can pay more for basic? While I enjoy watching our home team play on network t.v, I could not imagine watching NFL all the time, but I guess there are folks out there with no life.

  17. Copper says:

    I get commercials with Jerry Jones telling me to switch to the cable provider I already have and get the package I already have so I can watch the Cowboys play the Packers.

  18. Boy Howdy says:

    @MikeHerbst: It’s not clear from the blurb, but it’s a contract dispute. Comcast isn’t saying that nobody is allowed to tell their customers to change cable providers, just that the NFL signed a contract with Comcast that forbids them from doing that.

    Comcast couldn’t use this rationale to keep a competitor from doing this.

  19. lowlight69 says:

    :) i have no cable, no sat, just netflix and bitorrent. :) since i stopped playing football i stopped watching it…

  20. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    This from the same NFL that told consumers and cable companies alike to go pound sand by keeping the ‘Sunday Ticket’ exclusive on Directv.

    Although Comcast=eeeeeeeeeeevil

  21. therealhomerjaysimpson says:

    I’m guessing, just guessing, there could be a contractual point that says a channel can’t do something harmful to a provider that carries them. Kind of like Coke telling you to stop shopping at WalMart because Target gives them better shelf space. If that were the case, there could be legal grounds.

  22. Dr_awesome says:

    I’m no fan of comcast, but I have to say their sports package is pretty sweet. You get the nba and nfl channels, plus the Fox soccer channel (premiership games) and Gol TV (la liga games) for something like 7 dollars a month.

  23. Bryan Price says:

    Who’s the one that’s being more evil here? The NFL. It’s hard to believe it, but yes, I’m rooting for Comcast on this tussle. And I lost Court TV and FUSE today. I thought I lost SciFi and E!, but they took over the loser’s spots. I could care less, but my kids are going to miss FUSE. I called Comcast about it, and they said I should be getting a letter about it “soon”. Sheesh, a letter before the change would probably have been more in order.

    And this is the reason why I’m really against the NFL. I’m on the basic cable TV plan, so if they do have to put it in the lineup, what are they going to drop? Comcast had a chance to upgrade me today to digital, but they didn’t even ask me about it. I’ve got enough channels as it is. I just really don’t want to lose SciFi or the Food channel.

    Is there anything we Comcast customers can do to help? Letters to write?

  24. InThrees says:

    While I’m no fan of either party in this fight, I’m pretty sure it’s ok to attempt to “influence” someone else’s customers.

    Having someone agree to send you money for a product or service does not give you the exclusive right to provide that product or service to that customer, and does not preclude competitors from enticing them away.

    This just totally fits with the whole “sue or legistlatecompetition out of existence” mindset the big content providers and telcos have. No, you can’t buy a phone from me use it on someone else’s service. No, you can’t choose what channels you want. No, you apparently can’t listen to those other guys make their pitch, and those other guys shouldn’t be pitching you anyway because you are MINE.

    FFS, can we get a free market please?

  25. unclescrooge says:

    I am so sick of this fight. I love football but I cannot understand how the NFL is allowed to start walking down this avenue.

    If a company began offering its product through only its wholly own outlets, it would be guilty of being a monopoly. So maybe it’s time that Congress revoked the NFL’s exemption.

    I don’t believe that the NFL, or any other sports organization, should be allowed to show its games only on its channel.

  26. Boy Howdy says:

    @unclescrooge: Only baseball has a specific antitrust exemption.

    @InThrees: While there’s a lot about both professional sports and television that is in no way a free market, this specific case is a contract dispute. Any limitations on the NFL’s to act in this manner were brought about by their entering into a contract.

  27. Rusted says:

    They are free to tell the customers whatever they want. The customers are free to listen or be deaf to it all. This is marketing.

    I’m free not to have any live television service. Amazing how much money that saves.

  28. Falconfire says:

    @Jozef: actually they would, NFL wants comcast to pay for EVERY subscriber on their network, regardless if they are getting this NFL channel or not. Thats the sticking point, Comcast wants to make it a special package that you pay extra for, NFL wants it for EVERYONE AND for Comcast to pay for it for everyone.

    Basically the NFL is trying hard to shake down the cable providers.

  29. ldavis480 says:

    I hate both the NFL and Comcast equally, but aside from hoping they sue each other into oblivion the truth is the NFL has a right to their opinion. If they want to tell people to switch I’m sure people will if they agree with them.

    However…

    I doubt anyone WILL switch because most people don’t want their cable rates to go up just to pay for channels they don’t care about. Comcast should just ignore the whole thing rather than blustering with legal threats, which is likely to cause more of a Streisand-effect than anything else. Ignore it and it will go away, I doubt any of the NFL’s audience pays much attention to what some crybaby NFL millionaire wants.

  30. lestat730 says:

    I’m glad I don’t give a damn about professional sports :)

  31. war59312 says:

    I have the right to tell anyone I want to cancel comcast!!

  32. DashTheHand says:

    The less NFL I have to see on TV, the radio, and in any sort of media I’m in front of, the happier I’ll be.

  33. ViolentAcres says:

    @akronharry: “but I guess there are folks out there with no life.” Exactly. What do you think NFL stands for? “No F***ing Life”