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Chris Havel:NFL Network is a sign of greed

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by net, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Chris Havel column: NFL Network sliding down greedy slope


    By Chris Havel

    As I sit here writing and not being distracted by the Denver-Kansas City game, I wonder if the National Football League is truly appreciative of its fans this Thanksgiving.


    The NFL is the greatest thing going in professional team sports.


    It wasn't built for television, because no one could have created such a perfect fit. Not intentionally, anyway. This game doesn't have to be formatted to fit your screen. It comes that way naturally. It is no coincidence that the NFL's popularity mirrors TV's. They go together like Unitas and Berry, a package deal, but only if the NFL Network is broadcast by your local cable TV provider.


    Otherwise, you are out of luck.


    That includes some Green Bay Packers fans when their team hosts the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Dec. 21, in a game broadcast by the NFL Network. The Packers' fans living in the Green Bay and Milwaukee TV markets will be able to see the game. Dish Network subscribers also will be able to see it.


    But if you don't have the Dish Network, or you live outside the Green Bay and Milwaukee viewing areas, it's pretty much ESPN or "Seinfeld" reruns.


    I grew up in Adams-Friendship a diehard Packers fan. I watched every minute of every game of every season — miserable though they were in the 1970s and 1980s — and it left an indelible mark. My not seeing the Minnesota-Green Bay game because of the NFL Network wouldn't change that. But it makes you wonder where it is going to end? In fact, it makes you downright nervous.


    If the NFL Network eventually is the primary source of TV coverage of the NFL — although the TV networks' obscene ad rates make that unlikely — it could be a situation where the league controls the information it disseminates. To say it isn't likely is accurate. To say it isn't possible is naïve.


    The NFL's greatest threat isn't waning popularity, sagging ratings or a diluted or dried-up talent pool. Its greatest threat is greed. If the league doesn't show its appreciation for the common Joe's hard-earned dollar, it won't show its appreciation for millions upon millions of dollars.


    The NFL could do with a reality check.


    It is flourishing to a major degree because college football provides the perfect feeder system. The top players are well-coached, highly publicized and greatly anticipated come draft day.


    It also is thriving because the NFL has such an outstanding tradition and history. It isn't America's pastime. It is America's obsession. It is half-fantasy, half-reality and all consuming. Fans can't get enough, and when they can't get it when they feel they should be getting it, they grow upset and feel betrayed.


    Missing the Denver-Kansas City game doesn't qualify as a great hardship. The Packers' fans won't have to hear how Brett Favre must wish he still had Javon Walker every time No. 84 makes a reception. They also won't have to revisit last week's 35-0 trouncing by New England until Monday night.


    Missing the Vikings-Packers game is another matter. If some fans can't tune in, they eventually will tune out. I could check out the Denver-Kansas City score online, but I think I'll just wait to read it in the morning paper.

    Chris Havel can be reached by voice mail at (920) 431-8586 or by e-mail at chavel@greenbay.gannett.com
     
  2. PackFanInSC

    PackFanInSC Cheesehead

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    Being a Directv customer (which does have NFL Network on their total choice package), I am looking forward to the Packer-Viking game. I live in SC and have only been able to see the games that the networks feel are of interest here -- mostly Falcons or Panthers -- unless they play on Monday or Sunday nights. So, this year, all I have been able to see was the Bear game and the Eagles game (2 not very pretty games) and have been relegated to listening to the games online.

    Other years, we have seen probably 10 - 12 of the 16 games because the Packers were contending. Hopefully we can get up close to .500 so the games will be considered important again.
     
  3. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Online = PbP?
     
  4. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Here's a pretty accurate explanation:

    NFL playing TV hardball
    By John Ryan
    Mercury News
    NFL'S BONUS COVERAGE
    As happens more often than not nowadays, the NFL's Thanksgiving offerings are turkeys. Miami-Detroit. Tampa Bay-Dallas. Who even needs tryptophans to fall asleep?

    But they've added nighttime dessert, the creamy-sweet pumpkin pie of Denver at Kansas City -- for those willing to pay. The NFL Network, the league's own cable channel, has eight prime-time games scheduled for the latter part of the season, beginning Thursday night.

    It sounds great. But it's a Trojan horse filled with confusion and controversy.

    Locally, the NFL Network is available only on Comcast's digital cable, which accounts for a little more than half of Bay Area subscribers. (DirecTV and Dish Network also carry the channel.) It isn't on Comcast's bare-bones Digital Classic package, either. The added cost is about $5 a month for customers who already have the digital box, or $11.90 for those currently on basic. (And for those in Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Milpitas and Saratoga, the NFL Network isn't available at all because of Comcast's bandwidth limitations.)

    Now, to the controversy: The NFL is using these games as a hammer to get top priority on all cable systems. The league hopes to reap a subscriber fee -- reportedly a very high 70 cents per customer -- for programming that is narrow and niche-oriented 357 days a year. The companies want to keep the channel on a paid tier, and they're fighting back with a lawsuit, the attention of Congress and even a Web site -- www.nflgetreal.com, started by Time Warner.

    Not that the cable companies are Cesar Chavez rising up, but good for them. The league is creating content, selling it on its own and, when it does sell to someone else, choosing one group to the exclusion of another. (To wit: DirecTV and the NFL Sunday Ticket package.) At one point in American history, that was called an antitrust violation. Ask Bill Gates about it.

    Or ask Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who grilled an NFL executive on Capitol Hill this week. ``We're intrigued, to put it mildly, what the NFL has in mind,'' the senator said.

    It's not so bad here, where our local teams' games will be on over-the-air TV. It's horribly arrogant of the NFL in places like Rapid City, S.D. (Broncos), and Madison, Wis. (Packers), with rabid fan bases that won't see the games because they aren't defined as the local market.

    So we're with the cable companies.

    (But we aren't holding a bake sale.)
     
  5. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    With Comcast in my area, the NFL channel is the ultimate priced channel.

    It is only available if you buy the everything package. Buy every movie, porn, foriegn language etc. and the final channel on the pyramid is the NFL channel.

    It costs triple what basic cable costs. Now.

    Last year I subscribed when NFL network was part of an expanded package for an additional $15 a month. The programing was best during preseason, good during the off season, and at its worst during the season.

    It is not worth $80 additional a month. For the December viking game I can go to a local sports bar with other Packer fans and spend less than subscribing.
     
  6. PackFanInSC

    PackFanInSC Cheesehead

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    Sometimes but usually (forgive me) NFL Fieldpass.
     
  7. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    :(
     
  8. rob836

    rob836 Cheesehead

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    Before Sunday ticket I had to go 50 miles to a sports bar. So I'm happy with it. If every game was on NFL network that would be great too. I pay for NFL Sunday ticket that comes with NFL network and thats all I pay for, no subscribion fees nothing. What's Sunday ticket now $150. Thats not much for a year.
     
  9. net

    net Cheesehead

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    The issue here is wider than "I can go to a sports bar" "I got mine" or "aren't you guys lucky, I live in Kansas".

    The issue here is the NFL(monopoly)vs.cable(in many areas a monopoly) vs. pressuring the fan base to choose options which in the end will cost them more money, perhaps a lot of money.

    I just find it odd that no one seems to care that in much of the country the games come to you essentially free each Sunday. The broadcasters paid billions upon billions to the NFL for those rights. That wonderful salary cap luxury the Packers enjoy today is directly attributable to the tons of money the broadcasters paid the NFL. Now they have to forego broadcasting key games in markets, so the NFL can begin competing with them after the broadcasters paid the NFL billions. If you were in business you would love making a deal like that with a supplier so he can compete with you, right?

    Never forget that revenue sharing is the ONLY, repeat ONLY reason the Green Bay Packers still exist. Without the sharing, the franchise would have been in LA decades ago. If you believe the Packers would remain without revenue sharing you are delusional. If they did, they couldn't field a team much above NFL Europe caliber. Look at the Brewers. Think they will ever win the series? Doubt it.

    Broadcast TV money is the principal source for revenue sharing.

    In short, what the NFL is doing is putting the squeeze on the very people who love them. Congress has taken note of this.
     
  10. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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  11. PackinSteel

    PackinSteel Cheesehead

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    No sport is ever going to have a TV package that satisfies all the fans and I can certainly understand folks' displeasure with the arrangement regarding the NFL Network games.

    However, I seem to recall my boss, a hockey nut, telling me he had to find the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) or some such obscure channel to watch an NHL playoff game last year!
     
  12. thetombradyhater

    thetombradyhater Cheesehead

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    The NFL's only major flaw is: EVRYONE IS TO GREEDY.
     

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