With the carriage dispute continuing between Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network as another football season gets under way, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shared his thoughts Thursday on the refusal by the fourth-largest video provider to pick up the league network.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York City on Thursday, Goodell said the NFL is frustrated they have not made their way onto Time Warner Cable’s channel lineup.
“We’ve established the quality of the NFL Network, which is being carried by every one of the large distributors with the exception of Time Warner Cable,” Goodell said. “We’ve got tremendous reaction from the fans and the carriers, not just from NFL Network, but from the NFL RedZone channel.
“We’ve also established the market. It’s clear what the market rate is for the NFL Network. We’re a little frustrated by it, but we made it clear to Time Warner Cable that we’ll do a market rate deal and we’ll be as patient as we need to be. That’s where we are. It’s clear the customers want it and we think that’s in the best interest of their customers, but that’s their decision.”
The dispute between Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network has stretched for nine seasons. Time Warner Cable became the only NFL Network holdout among the nine largest television providers in the country in mid-August when Cablevision and the pro football network announced a multi-year distribution agreement.
Since that time, the NFL Network has renewed deals with some cable providers that were expiring and recently announced distribution agreements with two new providers, Gooble Fiber and Cincinnati Bell Fioptics that are direct competitors with Time Warner.
“We’re now getting to the point of renewals with several of our carriers and already completed those renewals,” Goodell said. “I think if there was a problem with the quality, they wouldn’t be renewing at the rate they are renewing. We see, not only the renewals coming in quickly, we actually see increases off of that.”
The NFL Network is scheduled to air the first of its expanded 13-game schedule on Thursday when the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers.
Earlier this week, a Time Warner Cable spokesman reiterated the cable provider’s statement from last month that conversations are ongoing and they remain hopeful a resolution can be reached.