Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You gotta fight for your right to 8 hours
of 'NFL Total Access' every damn day

I have DirecTV at my house, which means I get the NFL Network as part of the basic programming package. But many cable television subscribers are not as fortunate -- or, if they're not football fans, not as unfortunate. The NFL is fighting a series of battles with cable operators as it tries to get them to offer the network on their basic tier. The cable companies want to offer it as a premium channel, usually part of a "sports tier" with ESPN U, the regional Fox Sports networks, maybe the Golf Channel, etc. The NFL says the network is popular enough to merit inclusion as a basic channel like Food Network or HGTV or Lifetime Yeast Infection Channel; the cable companies say that because the NFL Network charges a relatively high per-subscriber premium (something like $1 a month), only those customers who want it should be forced to pay it.

I don't have a dog in this hunt. As white people say: "I got mine, so to hell with the rest of you." But I had to both gasp in horror and laugh in delight I came across this FAQ on NFL.com, in which the league discusses in an entirely objective manner the recent court decision that allowed Comcast to carry the network only as part of a premium sports package. The FAQ includes such questions as "Why is this happening?" and "Will I have to pay extra to receive NFL Network?" and "What can I do if I disagree with Comcast's decision?" These are entirely reasonable. Then comes this beautifully crafted question and response:
Q: I heard Comcast owns sport networks like Versus and The Golf Channel, and requires that they be included in broad packages sold to most if not all customers on Comcast and other cable systems, regardless of whether those customers are interested in the Tour de France, or hunting, or hockey. Isn't it disingenuous of Comcast to charge customers typically $5 per month to get sports networks that they don't own, like NFL Network, while forcing customers to pay for Comcast's networks whether they want them or not?

A: Yes, it is.
The NFL Newtork uses a made-up question from a made-up person to level accusations of disingenuousness. An absolute masterpiece!

But like I said: I got mine, so fuck you all.

1 comment:

Rich Lanthier said...

Hilarious Paul! I'd really like to get Versus on the basic Cox lineup... I miss seeing the hockey playoffs!