Will Football Finally Bring An End To Time Warner Cable/CBS Standoff?

For 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York City, L.A., Dallas, and a few other pockets around the country, it’s been almost four weeks since the cable company pulled CBS and Showtime from its lineup over the latest stupid fee dispute. The final season of Dexter wasn’t enough to end the standoff, and it seems like people stopped caring about what was going on Under the Dome several weeks ago. But could the NFL season put enough pressure on the two parties to finally play nice and end this nonsense?

The football season and all its attendant ad revenue will certainly put pressure on both TWC and CBS to come to their senses, but looking at the NFL schedule, the bickering twosome probably can make it through the first week of the season without their headquarters being surrounded by upset football fans.

New York and Dallas are both huge NFL markets, but the NY Jets are on Fox for their first game on Sept. 8, while the NY Giants and the Dallas Cowboys play each other that night… on NBC. Los Angeles doesn’t have a pro football team. The nearest team on the map is the San Diego Chargers, but their Week 1 game is on Monday Sept. 9 on ESPN.

The NFL’s second week holds the best early prospect for getting this standoff resolved. Not only will the NY Giants’ first home game be blacked out to the many, many NYC-area residents with Time Warner Cable, it’s also the hugely anticipated Manning Bowl that pits future Hall of Famer Denver QB Peyton Manning against two-time Super Bowl champ little bro Eli.

On a lesser note, Chargers fans in L.A. will be blacked out from watching their team lose to the might Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys game in Week 2 is on Fox, so TWC customers in Dallas will still be able to see the game. Likewise, the NY Jets play a Thursday night game on Sept. 12 so fans in NYC should be able to watch.

We could keep going, but we’re hoping that all involved will wise up before the NFL season gets to Week 3.

Some, including at least one FCC Commissioner, hold out hope that the FCC will intervene and force the two parties to come to a resolution.

“Consumers are caught in the crossfire, [they are] collateral damage in the dispute between these two companies,” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a recent statement. “Enough. If the parties can’t reach resolution, the FCC should use its ‘good faith’ authority under the law to help bring an end to this disagreement—and prevent long blackouts like this from happening again.”

However, in order for the FCC to do anything, it would require that either TWC or CBS file an official complaint against the other. It seems unlikely that either party will do so, as neither side really wants regulatory intervention.

Just remember that, no matter what propaganda either side attempts to feed you, they both just want the same thing — your money.

CBS-Time Warner Cable fight invites football fans’ wrath [Politico]
Time Warner Cable customers fuming as CBS blackout drags on [L.A. Times]