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The 2007 NFL season has been one of the most exciting in history. From the battle of the undefeated New England Patriots and last year’s Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts to the troubles of Atlanta Falcon quarterback Mike Vick, fans always have something to talk about at the water cooler. The game between the Patriots and the Colts was the most watched game in 20 years, according to Nielsen Media Research.
But the biggest news in football has not dealt with any player or team but the NFL network, which has yet to be embraced by cable and is now only available by satellite. Fans are so upset, but websites have been set up to keep fans up to date on the squabbles between cable providers and the network. One of the issues deals with apartments and condominiums that have exclusive deals with cable providers. These deals are taking away the choice from many consumers who want to switch to a satellite television provider to get the NFL network (and other choice programming provided by satellite services).
Some of the arguments posted on the website include that cable companies stifle competition and have double standards. This is one of the “points” made on the website: “Cable has a double standard when it comes to sports channels. Channels they own, like Versus and the Golf Channel are included in the basic lineup. Independent channels like NFL Network get left out in the cold. This is unfair and anti-consumer. Consumer interest should decide what channels get carried – not inside deals among cable companies.”
What does the NFL Network provide that has fans begging for it? Here is a sampling:
oEight regular season prime time NFL games on Thursday and Saturday nights
oFifty-two NFL preseason games 98 NFL game replays – five a week each week throughout the season
oNFL classic games in their original broadcast form
oPast Super Bowls in their entirety
oLive week-long Super Bowl coverage from the host city
oLive week-long Pro Bowl coverage
oLive NFL Draft coverage, plus the most extensive access leading up to the draft.
oExclusive live NFL Scouting Combine coverage, the annual job interview process for incoming NFL hopefuls
oExclusive mini-camp and training camp specials
The controversy is not expected to end soon. As the regular season ends and playoffs begin, more NFL fans are expected to lobby the Federal Communications Commission about the issue.
The controversy over the NFL network is just one more reason that cable subscribers are leaving their providers and ordering satellite TV. For example, DirecTV not only offers the NFL Network, but also offers the network in high definition. They are also the only provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket which provides out of market coverage to relocated fans.
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write by Eunice