NFL Appeals Sports Tier Decision

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The NFL will appeal the judge's decision that Comcast can put its NFL Network on a sports tier. "we believe the judge erred," said an NFL spokesman.

It filed a notice of appeal with the New York Supreme Court Friday after that court ruled (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6441312.html?q=NFL)that its three-year-old contract with Comcast does not require the cable operator to place the NFL Network on its most widely-viewed tier.

The NFL Network had sued Comcast over the cable operator's decision to place the network on a sports tier on the new systems it acquired in the break-up of Adelphia.

Because Comcast and the NFL were separately negotiating Comcast's possible purchase of a package of NFL regular-season games at the time of the agreement, the contract for Comcast's carriage of the NFL Network stipulated that if Comcast got the regular season games, it would also have to carry the fledgling NFL Network on the basic (most-viewed) tier.

Comcast did not get the games, which it planned to put on its Versus (then called Oudoor Life Network), or did it? The NFL kept the games and put them on the NFL Network, which meant that Comcast did have the games because it was carrying the network. So, by the NFL's way of thinking, Comcast was bound by the agreement to carry the network on basic.

Comcast saw it differently, saying the stipulation applied only to the games as a package that could then be placed on one of Comcast's own networks. The judge agreed.

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