Goodell: NFL Is Broadcasting's Franchise Player

NFL Commissioner makes visit to FCC to talk program carriage complaints, other issues

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell paid a call on the FCC this week to talk about sports and regulation, and elsewhere buttressed the "sports-as-must-have programming" argument (or at least the NFL as must-have argument), that sports programmers have used to lobby the FCC for help with access to distributors.

Goodell was interviewed for the Versus sports business show, The $ports Take with Sports Professor Rick Horrow. According to a clip from the show supplied by its producers, Goodell made a case for naming the NFL broadcasting's franchise player.

Goodell said that the NFL "continues to be the most successful programming on broadcast television" and that it is "one of, if not [the] only [sport] that can continue to be successful on broadcast television on a regular basis. And that is not just in sports, that is in entertainment in general."

The venue for the comment was noteworthy. Versus is the Comcast-affiliated network that NFL claimed in its carriage complaint the cable operator was favoring over its own NFL Network.

In a more explicit invocation of regulatory issues, Goodell met with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowksi on Sept. 1 to discuss, among other things, the handling of program carriage complaints, which the NFL has said are "slow and cumbersome" and favor distributors over independent producers.

In the meeting, NFL reps said that position, which the league outlined in a 2007 filing on the FCC's ongoing review of complaint-resolution procedures, was buttressed by the league's experience with a complaint it filed against Comcast, a complaint that was eventually resolved, though not until after a trial before an administrative law judge.

"It was the first time the two individuals had the opportunity to meet and discuss the importance of the FCC to our NFL media business and how we reach our fans," said the NFL in an e-mailed statement about the meeting. "This meeting provided Commissioner Goodell an opportunity to share his thoughts with the FCC Chair on issues of mutual interest."