NFL networks squabble

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Pro football is a Thanksgiving tradition and today, for the first time, there are three NFL games instead of two. But millions of people won't be able to watch the third game: the Denver Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's on the NFL Network, and a lot of cable companies don't carry the network. They're holding out for want a better deal from the NFL. Bob Moon reports.


BOB MOON: Industry experts say it's not just the high-stakes in this face-off. It could set a precedent for future sports programming deals.

American Cable Association chief Matthew Polka, who represents smaller cable operators, says they'd like to put expensive sports channels on a dedicated tier, instead of making everybody pay.

MATTHEW POLKA: They can provide it, it's that the networks won't let them. If they were able, if they had the right to provide a sports tier, they would do it tomorrow.

Polka complains the NFL stance with smaller cable operators is take-it-or-leave-it and he suggests Washington might need to intervene. But industry consultant Howard Horowitz says arguments on both sides are strong enough to let the market decide.

HOWARD HOROWITZ: Without my content, you have 500 dark channels; and without my distribution network, you have no way to reach your audience. So that's the seeds of an agreement.

As they say, stay tuned.

In Los Angeles, I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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