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Kai Ryssdal: The football season is still months away, but the country’s most popular sports league is burying the hatchet with the nation’s biggest cable company. The NFL Network and Comcast announced a settlement today that’ll ensure millions of fans will be able to watch the network this fall as Joel Rose reports.
JOEL ROSE: Comcast complained that the NFL was charging too much for its network, while the NFL sued Comcast for refusing to carry the channel on its regular cable package. It’s been a contentious subject for years. But on today’s conference call with reporters, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sounded like old friends. Here’s Goodell:
ROGER Goodell: He needed it for his customers. We need it for our fans. We can work together in a much more productive fashion than fighting.
In the end, Comcast agreed not to charge its subscribers a special premium for the NFL Network. The exact terms were not announced. But it appears that the NFL agreed to cut the price it charges Comcast. Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist says in return the NFL gets 8 million potential viewers.
ANDREW Zimbalist: They get much more exposure. That helps them not only for the games when they’re broadcast, but helps the promotion of the NFL Network in general.
The two sides also agreed to drop legal actions. Goodell says the NFL now hopes to negotiate with other cable operators, including Time Warner.
I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.
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