DirecTV Sued Over NFL Advertisements

From LA Bizjournal:

The suit claims DirecTV falsely claimed in recent ads that Time Warner Cable subscribers will not be able to see their local professional football teams play unless they have DirecTV. Time Warner is one of several cable operators who no longer carry the NFL Network, due to monthly fees the league wants to charge for the channel, the Wall Street Journal said.

This is just one of a shitload of problems the NFL Network/The NFL is having with both local affiliates, Comcast, Time Warner, and so on. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Senator Arlen Spector, “who is chairman of the committee, said he would sponsor legislation to eliminate the antitrust exemption that allows the National Football League to negotiate broadcast rights for all of its 32 teams.” Also, “Specter said he would consider proposing that Comcast and other cable companies no longer be allowed to refuse to share sports programming with satellite competitors.”

All we know is that the NFL Network is annoying, and having to have DirecTV just to get NFL Sunday Ticket is annoying. All this crap is really annoying. So there. —MEGHANN MARCO

DirecTV sued by Time Warner over NFL Network, HD ads [LA Bizjournal]
Specter says NFL abuses cable viewers [Philadelphia Inquirer]


Edit Your Comment

  1. RokMartian says:

    The most annoying thing about the NFL network is Bryant Gumbel is doing the play by play.

  2. zentec says:

    All sports channels should be subscription only; period. Why should people who do not care about sports be forced to help subsidize the channels on cable or satellite?

    Give the NFL network the ability to negotiate what it wants, just don’t force me to pay for it when I don’t watch it.

  3. Triteon says:

    zentec– What you’re asking for is ala carte cable options, an issue that appears dead (again) in the Senate. Support it! I– a non-subscriber– do.
    The reason you subsidize sports is the reason other subscribers subsidize your favorite networks that they don’t watch. Also, from the MSO perspective there is no financial reason to make “all sports channels” subscription-only– too many sports-oriented customers are helping to pay for the CNBC’s and Lifetime’s of the cable universe.

  4. Trai_Dep says:

    Read that ANOTHER decrepidly evil thing that NFL Network is trying to pull is to *strongly* pressure cablers to provide NFLN on all systems. They say it’s “unfair” that subscribers have to pay extra. So instead everyone pays. Boy, that’s fair!

    Triteon – what zentec is saying isn’t anarchy, a la carte, etc. It’s a repudiation of the ripoff that exists. If overweight, slobbering armchair quarterbacks want to watch sports (instead of cough PLAYING them) awesome. Why are they whining that the world subsidize their poor taste? The entire sporting tier should be an add-on. Are you some kind of communist demanding that everyone else pay for your ideosyncratic whims? :P

    I think that there should be a Brat (sorry, Family) tier, and a Sports tier. If you have kids or if you’re into passively shoveling Cheetos into your yap while yelling at the TV every Sunday then you subscribe. If you’re not then you don’t (and probably shave off $20/mo from crap you’ll never watch anyway)

    That’s a separate issue from a la carte pricing (also a good idea but a different topic).

  5. Trai_Dep says:

    (Tri, said with love, baby – not directed at you (after post, realized it wasn’t clear)).

    Oh, and a Holy Roller tier. I’m paying Falwell, Robertson, Dobson money?!! w.t.F?!

  6. Sideline Reporter says:

    Quick question about this network thing – am I correct in thinking that if I live in New York, I am entitled to see the local teams?

    Someone told me that even when the Giants are on the NFL Network (I have TWC so cannot see that network) they have to show the game on the local affiliate, FOX or whatever.

    Is this true?

  7. Triteon says:

    OK, I was about to go off on you Trai…cooled down now;)
    Please note that I am not a cable subscriber, partially because ala carte is not offered. As someone who has worked in the television advertising industry for 10 years– 6 years in cable TV advertising– I do have some insight into the whys and hows of this very odd business. A post on how multi-station operator remuneration would be pages and pages long (I have written a bit about it in other comments though) but quickly: the fear of ala carte access is that rates would go up for all subscribers and choices would go down– and this fair-trade issue is when it becomes a Constitutional argument (and dies in the Senate).
    FYI– the big harang with NFL Network is that they are want to charge the MSO’s $2 per subscriber per month ($24 a year) to carry the network. The MSO’s only get 8 live games worth of ad inventory to seel and recoup that money. Let’s use the St. Louis market as an example:
    There are 1.2 million households in the DMA, with 60% having cable television. That’s 720,000 homes with cable at $2 per subscriber per month = $17.28 million in rights fees paid to the NFL Network. Charter Communications needs to sell $2.16 million in ad time per game to break even. There are approximately ninety :30 commercials per game, so that’s a rate of $24,000 per spot– again, this is to break even! $24k is about how much it would cost to buy a local spot in a Rams-less playoff game. And now Charter needs to sell 720 of these ads? It would never happen. Of course, from the NFL Network perspective Charter gets all this other time (re-aired games, highlight shows, “classic” programming) to sell, but at 0.1-0.3 ratings that becomes a difficult proposition.
    For me, give me the must-carry stations (your local, over-the-air stations) and the 7-8 networks I would be interested in having, and charge me $3 each for those nets. I could be a happy subscriber then. And yes, Trai– ESPN would be one of them! :)

  8. SteveA says:

    gotta love government mandated monopolies!

    zentec, I agree, and on top of that, why should I pay for government services I don’t use?

  9. spinachdip says:

    Sideline – I believe you are correct. When the Giants were on Monday Night Football earlier this year, they lifted the ESPN feed and aired it on one of the local network affiliates.

  10. spinachdip says:

    Charter Communications needs to sell $2.16 million in ad time per game to break even. There are approximately ninety :30 commercials per game, so that’s a rate of $24,000 per spot– again, this is to break even!

    Does NFL Network sell commercial times too? I don’t know how it works with cable networks, but if NFL Network carries national ads, then that would mean even fewer time slots for the local carrier to sell ads, right?

  11. Triteon says:

    If anyone’s still reading this:
    From MediaLifeMagazine.comNew York City residents may be able to see Rutgers play its bowl game after all. The NFL has offered Time Warner and Cablevision one week of free carriage of its NFL Network, which holds the rights to the Texas Bowl, featuring Rutgers, and a package of Thursday and Saturday night games that includes the New York Giants’ final game of the season against the Redskins. Time Warner and Cablevision have balked at carrying the network, which they want to put it on a premium digital tier package to defray the hefty per-subscriber fee the NFL is charging for the network. The NFL insists that the companies should carry the channel in a basic package. The NFL offer doesn’t include any NFL games. But it does include the Dec. 28 Texas Bowl between Rutgers and Kansas State, which led many to complain that New Jersey and New York residents wouldn’t be able to see the team play. Cablevision said it will air the NFL Network only for that game, including pre- and post-game coverage. Time Warner hasn’t decided what to do yet. NFL Network has shown three Thursday night NFL games so far this season, with a small viewership for each due to limited distribution of the channel. The network is available in about 40 million of the country’s 111 million TV households. By comparison, ESPN, which shows “Monday Night Football,” is available in 92 million.
    spinachdip– you are correct, I didn’t back-out the national ads. The cost to the MSO’s to recover the carriage fees then goes up considerably.
    Taking the other side…er, uh, my side, I guess– I think I’d pay $24 per yer to see NFL Network (he says, after spending an NFL-less Thanksgiving night knowing his beloved Chiefs were playing the hated Broncos. >sob