The NFL Accuses Cable Companies Of "Curbing Competition"

Reader Sean forwarded the following email from the NFL, along with a note:

Hi guys,

Longtime reader of the site. Not sure how you see this email, but I find it to be insulting to my intelligence.

The NFL telling me I’m being held hostage by someone else, when in fact they are holding me hostage by not allowing me to buy the NFL Sunday ticket without switching to satellite.

The irony is, er, ironic!

As much as we love the NFL (and let’s face it, we are obsessed with it), between the NFL network debacle and the Sunday Ticket Monopoly…. ugh! NFL, we love you, please fix this crap so we don’t have to write about it anymore.

(For a refresher on the NFL vs Cable issue, click here. Long story short: NFL wants to charge cable companies to carry the channel for all of their subscribers. Cable companies refuse to raise their rates for an unpopular niche channel that only nerds like us watch (all hometeam broadcasts will still be available to local fans who don’t have cable,) so they’ve moved the package to a “sports tier.” )

PREVIOUSLY: Leaks: “Time Warner Cable Vs NFL Network” Customer Retention Document

NFL Network Continues To Cause Drama, Pain, Anger


Edit Your Comment

  1. davebg5 says:

    Memo to the NFL: Pot…meet kettle.

  2. Falconfire says:

    good for the cable companies (god I feel icky saying that)

    I hate watching sports. I think its the dumbest use of TV behind reality TV shows. I love playing them, and I am a weightlifter but watching sports to me is akin to pulling teeth and to be truthful I find pulling teeth much more enjoyable.

    Of course this also goes into the if I was allowed to pick and chose my channels like I should be, a good 60-70 channels would be instantly gone. But in the meantime, keep crap like this, and the YES network and any other crap that makes my rate go up OFF my bill.

  3. lestat730 says:

    I guess I should feel fortunate that I couldn’t give a damn about professional sports =)

  4. Murph1908 says:

    New Jersey sports fans,

    Professional leagues like the NFL, MLB, and NBA continue to raise your sport-viewing costs and curb competition.

    They are now placing games you might have once seen on broadcast networks on niche channels and specialized sports networks.

    To increase their profits, professional sports leagues are holding you hostage by forcing you to pay extra for ESPN (Monday Night Football) and TBS (MLB Playoffs), by signing lucrative deals with these cable channels. These games used to be available to you without paying for cable. BUT NOW YOU PAY MORE.

  5. axiomatic says:

    I love football. I hate the NFL League however. Allowing EA to have exclusive rights to console/PC football games is one reason. The “family-fication” of the game as a whole is another reason I hate them. (Where are the “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan’s of the NFL today? Neutered and gagged, thats where!) The G-rated halftime shows are crap now. (Janet’s boobie incident was excellent! My son and I want more of that! So does my Tivo! Hell my wife thought it was awesome as well!)

    Some sports just don’t need to be family shows. Boxing and UFC are very successful with only an adult (intended) audience.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want kids involved with football, just not WUSSY football.

  6. joeblevins says:

    No tears will be shed for the NFL.

  7. ARP says:

    Wasn’t there some leglislative activity about forcing a la carte cable options? Or did the lobbyists shut that down?

    I watch maybe 1/3 of the channels that are available to me under extended basic cable. I’m forced to have that package because there are a few channels that I can only get with that package. A la’ carte could solve a lot of these problems.

  8. Gamby says:

    Be glad you dont live in Houston. A friend of mine was complaining because on Fox he could watch the Houston game and then on CBS he could watch…..the Houston game. Over in Austin I got to sit comfortably and watch two different games!

  9. slungsolow says:

    @ARP: cable companies and legislation go together like peas and ice cream.

    The day that comcast caves to the FCC is the day I get to rip content off of my DVR. Literally.

  10. GearheadGeek says:

    I don’t know if this is still the situation, but a friend of mine works for Time Warner and told me that the NFL was pressuring them to take this channel as part of “extended basic” (like ESPN) and wanted to charge a lot per subscriber. They wouldn’t agree to let Time Warner offer it as part of a “sports tier” to only subscribers who wanted to pay for it. So, the NFL can go to hell, I couldn’t care less about their games, their half-time shows, their overpaid star players. I think their abandonment of many of their retired players is worse than shameful and hope they’re sued into bankruptcy over it. They can all go rot on the NFL Network, not shown on my TV.

  11. brendanm14 says:

    I just got this email too…..but it says Chicago Football Fans

  12. gorckat says:

    FWIW, I’m ecstatic to be paying $4.99 for the Comcast Digital Sports Tier that includes NFL Network….

    …because I also get The Tennis Channel, 2 channels (iirc) featuring High School Football, and several other channels I watch from time to time (golf, motor and extreme sports stuff). It works out to <$1.00 per month I’m paying for NFL Network based on how much I watch of each.

  13. majortom1981 says:

    LOl funny considering you have to go to direct tv for their season pass.
    The nfl has no right to complain.

  14. Starfury says:

    I generally don’t watch any sports and refuse to pay any extra for a special channel. I’m waiting for the day that I can pick my channel lineup and only pay for what I want.

  15. LTS! says:

    Ahh the NFL… where 90 miles away from the stadium you are considered to be in the blackout range of the team. Where stadiums are financed by tax dollars so the team can play there and then unless everyone sells out the stadium those taxpayers who paid for the stadium can’t see the game.

    Ahh the NFL, where you must have DirecTV to see their PPV programming. Where they put games on their own network and then demand more money to carry the game. Ahh, solve the problem? Provide the channel free to cable companies.

    The NFL.. where I have to be subjected to Jets and Giants games because somehow Rochester is a secondary market for those teams, not Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Cleveland all of which are located closer geographically.

    Or should we say, ahh the NFL, where criminals run free.

    Glad I don’t watch the NFL, or care about it.

  16. If I want to pay extra money to watch sports, I’m going to a sports bar to watch and spending my “cable money” on beer.

  17. Murph1908 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:
    I’ll drink to that.

  18. flowergirl says:

    i have to say, we just switched from comcast to dish specifically
    for the nfl package (i am a rabid packers fan, grew up watching them
    practice a block from my grandma’s house) and i am so happy i could do
    a little jig- if tv were ever worth dancing about. the quality of the
    directv signal, programming, customer service & dvr are so far
    superior to comcast that i feel the nfl has done us a huge favor in
    this case.

  19. flowergirl says:

    and no, i don’t word for directv. comcast really just sucks that hard.

  20. qitaana says:

    Add me to those who think the NFL has unclean hands on this one.

    @ Axiomatic: A pedantic point, but “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is a professional wrestler. You may be thinking of Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds, who played for the Rams and 49ers back in the day. He got is nickname in college by sawing a VW in half after a loss.

  21. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    I got Directv for sunday ticket. and its probably the best move I’m ever made. I think I lost service for about 20 seconds over a two year span.
    and now I never have to swear at my television when the attempt to subject me to SEA vs. TEN for the 4pm game.

  22. flashing12 says:

    you know, if the NFL would charge say, $100 per season for one team that you’d like to follow instead of $400+ for every game played by every team including those I don’t give a crap about, I’ll bet Sunday Ticket revenues would quadruple! Try THAT on for curbing competition!

  23. quail says:

    I’d heard on some economist talk show once say that the reason for increasing cable rates was partly to pay for the increasing costs to carry sports channels. People who don’t want to watch are subsidizing the rest of the viewers who do. It’s one of the reasons cited as to why cable companies don’t want to offer ala carte programming. Want to watch BBC America, The National Geographic Channel, etc. then you’ll still have to pay for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN35Gajillion, and hometown peewee baseball channel as well.

    If ala carte comes into being, you football and basketball fanatics might find the costs of watching your sports skyrocket.

  24. ShadowFalls says:

    Don’t forget NFL’s exclusive five year deal with Electronic Arts for NFL games. If that isn’t curbing competiton, I don’t know what is…

    The developer Tecmo hasn’t even been allowed to make a NFL game for years even though their older games were the best of the day, go figure.

  25. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Apparently you don’t know this, but big business doesn’t give a sh!t about you. They just want your money.
    Neither the NFL nor the cable companies are blameless in this fiasco. Guess who loses? The consumers.
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled site.

  26. bricko says:

    If you had ala carte your bill would be astronomical. Most channels come in package deals. To get things like ESPN which is the MOST popular channel on cable by itself would cost about 20 dollars per month. It still costs your cableco about 4 per month per subscriber. By itself, ESPN has told them it would be more than HBO. So these popular channels would drive the price up very high for your cable. Many of the lower level package channels only cost 5 CENTS to 25 CENTS each per month per home. But the ad revenue help pay for the big ESPN’s etc.

  27. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: And nachos. That’s what we did all during the baseball season.

  28. ? graffiksguru says:

    @davebg5: HA! No kiddin, hit that one on the nose

  29. Smashville says:

    I was getting tired of the NFL sending me this same e-mail once a day every day. I eventually just blocked them.

  30. dextrone says:

    Poor Cablevision, they’re getting (part) of the blame for this, they’re a very nice company.

  31. manveru says:

    I learned that Comcast was doing this a few months ago. Their decision to do this motivated me to look into other options and now I am a proud DirecTV customer. Not only do I get the NFL network and Sunday ticket… I actually pay less money.

  32. axiomatic says:

    @qitaana: Yes I did mean Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds. I Googled “hacksaw” only because I could not remember the name and didn’t follow through. My bad. You are correct.

  33. GearheadGeek says:

    @bricko: Having “a la carte” options wouldn’t preclude the cable companies’ offering of packages, it would just require that they offer individual channels at a minimum. Sport freaks could still buy eleventy-seven sports channels in the “Armchair Quarterback Pack” I’m sure. Between the current state and a la carte, I’d like to see more targeted packages so I wouldn’t have to have all the bible-thumper channels and the sports channels I never watch.

  34. rjhiggins says:

    @Falconfire: I never understand people who post only to say, “I don’t care about this.” Why would you take the time to post?

    Obviously, millions of people DO like to watch the NFL (and don’t give a fig that you’re a weightlifter). Why waste our time with your useless comments?