Cablevision and the NFL Agree to Multi-Year Deal; Consumer beware

Horns were honking people were shouting, NFL football is alive and well on cable television. Football fans are getting two more stations and they’re celebrating like it’s the Fourth of July. Now sports fans are getting more than they have asked for and if you think about it there truly is nothing to smile about. Why? We’ll get into that a little later, but first the good news.

Cablevision and the National Football League have finally struck a viewing deal — a multi-year agreement, no less. Earlier today, the aforementioned TV provider announced it will start offering the well-known NFL Network and RedZone Channel to its Optimum TV customers starting tomorrow, with both channels being available in standard definition and, of course, high-def as well. Naturally, Cablevision users will have to be subscribed to the proper IO package in order to get the action included in these channels, but something tells us you won’t mind upgrading your bundle if need be. The official word from the cable company’s in the PR below, and now you have something else to look forward to tomorrow.

Their press release pretty much said it all: NFL Network and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), the largest TV provider in the nation’s top media market, announced today that they have reached a multi-year agreement for carriage of NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channel.

NFL Network will make its debut in Cablevision homes beginning tomorrow. NFL Network will be available on channel 150 in both standard-definition and HD for customers who subscribe to iO Preferred, iO Silver, iO Gold or the iO Sports & Entertainment Pak. NFL RedZone, which airs on Sundays throughout the regular season, will be offered in both standard-definition and HD on channel 151 as part of the iO Sports & Entertainment Pak, which is now included in the new iO Gold package, which was launched last spring.

“We know there is significant interest in the NFL Network and NFL RedZone among our Optimum TV customers, and are pleased to have worked productively with the NFL to offer both channels in time for the upcoming season, and for years to come,” said Mac Budill, Cablevision’s executive vice president of programming.

“Cablevision is one of the top television providers in the country and will offer New York fans football 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp. “With the 2012 NFL season approaching, Cablevision subscribers will be able to enjoy our expanded 13-game Thursday Night Football schedule, Sunday NFL GameDay shows, NFL Total Access, Emmy award-winning NFL Films programming and much more. In addition, NFL RedZone features every touchdown from every game on Sunday afternoons.”

The Emmy Award-winning America’s Game: The Super Bowl Champions series debuts this season’s episode on the 2011 New York Giants exclusively on NFL Network on Tuesday, September 4 at 10:00 PM ET, one night before the Giants kick off the 2012 regular season against the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL Network is the destination for all that happens around the sport of football. NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides viewers with more than 2,500 hours per year of original programming, including: NFL Total Access, NFL GameDay, the new four-hour NFL AM weekday morning show, Top 10, Playbook, NFL Replay, NFL Classic Games plus the Emmy award-winning Sound FX and America’s Game.

NFL Network is the home of Thursday Night Football — 13 primetime NFL regular season games from September through December. This year’s schedule kicks off on September 13 with a renewal of the NFL’s most-played rivalry as the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers in the 185th meeting between the NFC North division foes.

NFL Network also features every NFL preseason game, the Senior Bowl, plus more coverage of the NFL Draft, Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, NFL Scouting Combine and Super Bowl than anyone else.

The extraordinarily popular NFL RedZone, produced by NFL Network, whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons, delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen and in high definition. When a team goes inside the 20-yard line, fans see the crucial plays live. The channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights and a chance to see every important play. For more information on NFL RedZone, visit www.nfl.com/redzonetv.

One of the biggest threats to the existing media imbalance of power is affordability, and if you haven’t been paying attention that is what is driving the price wars that is currently taking place with a cable channel practically once a month.

While this may be good for the consumer now, once the dust has settled and the strong has survived, look for the priced to escalate uncontrollably.  If we had to characterize this with two words they would be Consumer Beware.  Today’s low prices will have to be paid back tomorrow.

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