Time Warner customers: Are you ready for no football?

UPDATE (Sept. 2): The Associated Press reports "CBS and Time Warner Cable have ended their payment dispute and expect programming to resume in millions of homes by 6 p.m. ET on Monday." Specific terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

The feud continues between Time Warner Cable and CBS over how much the cable provider should pay the network to carry its shows. CBS has been dark since early August for millions of Time Warner customers. With the NFL football season starting Sept. 5, there’s pressure on both companies to work out their differences.

Erik Brannon, an analyst with IHS Electronics and Media, says it’s the most-watched sport on TV. He says if viewers can’t get football, that could be a big problem for Time Warner Cable.

“If I am a customer and I’m a significant NFL fan, I’m going to start thinking about alternative platforms,” Brannon says.

Brannon says fans might switch to another cable provider. But Time Warner Cable spokesman Jon Gary Herrera says there’s no need for that.

“CBS is still delivered over the air for free in all these markets,” Herrera says.

So the cable company is offering some customers free antennas.  

A CBS spokesman declined to speak on the record. But analyst Erik Brannon says the network is losing money -- possibly millions -- in payments from Time Warner Cable while its channels are dark.

“They’re giving up possible revenue,” he says, “holding out for more later.”

But with football season starting next week, Brannon says he doesn’t think either side can hold out for long.

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