Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Comcast States Its Case

With NFL Network and Comcast inching closer to a May 1 divorce, Comcast has made its case for refusing to add NFLN to the basic package of channel options in an article penned by Comcast executive V.P. David Cohen and published by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Comcast currently makes NFL Network available on the dedicated sports and entertainment tier,” Cohen writes. “We view this as the best and fairest way to provide NFL Network’s expensive programming, because viewers who want to watch the channel can do so, while those who prefer not to aren’t forced to cover the network’s high costs.” That’s all well and good, but why then are football fans forced to cover the collective costs of craptastic channels that we never watch? We speak of, and on behalf of, the ESPN and Comedy Central demographic -- the men in the audience who want their curiosity regarding last night’s scores and highlights continuously satisfied and their funny bone periodically tickled. I currently pay Time Warner a monthly fee for the privilege of having 70-plus channels piped into my house. And I regularly watch maybe -- maybe -- five of them: ESPN, Comedy Central, MSNBC, NBC (for The Office, 30 Rock, and Trump’s show), and TBS (for repeats of Seinfeld and Family Guy). FX re-enters the rotation tonight with the new season of Rescue Me. So we’re officially up to six. I’m paying for more than 70, and I’m watching six. So what if putting NFLN on basic package would require folks who don’t care about football to pay for a channel they don’t watch? Those same folks likely don’t watch the NFL programming on ESPN, but yet they’re helping to pay the $1.1 billion annual fee ESPN pays for the privilege of airing Monday Night Football. We realize that, on this issue, we’re in the tank for the league and the network it owns (even though the absence of NFLN on the Comcast network might send more people to PFT in search of their football fix). But we’re also trying to be objective, and we objectively believe that any cable company that isn’t finding a way to make NFLN available to all customers without forcing them to buy extra products on a digital tier isn’t serving them as well as they could or should.