Thursday, November 29, 2007

The world of sports: Billionaires vs. billionaires

When Major League Baseball’s players went on strike, the question was whether you wanted to support the millionaires or the billionaires.

Now, in the case of the NFL Network vs. Humongous Cable Companies (including Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner), you can decide between billionaires and billionaires.

It’s really hard — at least for me — to want either side to win.

When the NFL started the NFL Network in November 2003, the big issue was on what level of service it would be carried by cable systems. Basically, the NFL wanted its network to be included on service levels that cable customers didn’t have to pay extra for. The cable operators, on the other hand, wanted to place the NFL Network on “sports tiers” that customers had to buy.

The dispute caused the NFL Network to be originally carried only on DirecTV and a handful of small cable systems.

Eventually, the NFL and the Humongous Cable Companies struck an agreement, and for a couple of years the NFL Network was available on lesser tiers. This summer, however, Humongous Cable Companies moved the network to premium services, which cost customers an extra $2 to $8 per month.

(I left out many details, but, believe me, you really don’t care about them.)

So now you’re up to date.

And, unless you’re paying extra for it, you’ll need to listen to tonight’s game between the 10-1 Dallas Cowboys and the 10-1 Green Bay Packers on WBAL radio or go to your favorite sports bar.

What’s your opinion on who’s to blame?

—ED WALDMAN, Managing Editor/Business


F. Pants McFadden said...

I think both sides are terribly greedy, and once again its the fans across the country who lose. I think its a little odd to have this argument about the NFL network and not point out that MNF is on a pay system too, being broadcast by ESPN, which is one of the most expensive channels for cable providers. Its just that ESPN has far more negotiating power.

What I think is most egregious is that games on the NFL Network might not be available in the team's home town. In a situation where the stadium is built with public funds, first the league strongarms the city to build the stadium, and then wants to charge the people to watch what goes on in the stadium they paid to build. That sounds an awful lot like extortion to me.

Super Bowl Commercials 2012 said...

Interesting title. I liked it.
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