No Meeting Scheduled Between Kerry and Cable, NFL

Senator Pleased that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, NFL Network Had ‘Constructive Ideas for Addressing this Matter’

According to an aide, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has not scheduled a meeting with the National Football League or the top cable companies over their carriage -- or cable's lack of it -- of NFL Network's New England Patriots at New York Giants game Dec. 29. It could be historic if the Patriots are still undefeated.

John Kerry

The aide attributed the lack of a meeting, which Kerry had requested, to the "reluctance expressed by all three parties to meet specifically to discuss the Giants-Patriots game."

But the aide did say that Kerry was "pleased" that both sides came forward with "constructive ideas for addressing this matter."

Kerry sent letters to all three parties asking to meet with them this week and all responded with varying degrees of enthusiasm for a meeting ranging from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell vowing to clear his schedule to Comcast executive vice president David Cohen saying schedule conflicts prevented his attendance, although all said they weren't sure there was much to talk about.

NFL Network has rights to the game, but the top cable operator, Comcast, carries it on a sports tier rather than its basic tier, and Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable operator, doesn't carry the network at all.

Several New England legislators weighed in with their advice to find a way to give the game wider play. Both sides have said they want that, too, with the NFL suggesting that the move is up to cable operators, while the cable operators advised them to move the game to broadcast TV as a one-time thing -- something the NFL has said it doesn't plan to do.