After years of grappling with carriage operators, the NFL Network is moving closer to gaining reach from the top 10 in distribution. The network said Cablevision has signed
on, leaving just two outstanding.
Those are Time Warner Cable (TWC) and BrightHouse, which are effectively one, as TWC handles negotiations for BrightHouse.
Cablevision will give the NFL Network distribution in the New York area, where interest this season might continue to escalate with Tim Tebow having joined the Jets. The network will also offer 13 regular-season games this year, up from eight.
The carrier will also offer the NFL RedZone channel, which supplies updates on Sunday games.
The NFL Network will not be available on a basic package, but several others and a sports and entertainment “pak.”
Some operators held out on an agreement with the network, arguing that it offered few live games and not much distinct programming. The deals come as operators continue to balk at paying high fees to carry some sports networks.
TWC has refused to offer the Longhorn Network -- even in Austin, the hometown of the University of Texas. And DirecTV has suggested it may not offer the Pac-12 suite of networks.
TWC will be on the other side of the table when it launches a regional sports network in Southern California this fall and seeks distribution. Of course, its fortunes look better now that the Lakers have acquired center Dwight Howard, who should generate team interest long after Kobe Bryant retires.