The National Football League is calling its next play in its battle with Time Warner and the other cable companies on which it is not carried; this weekend it will send former NFL stars to Dish Network retailers in selected markets.
The network will arrange appearances including former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, former Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, former Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, former Bills running back Thurman Thomas and former 49ers and Raiders defensive back Ronnie Lott.
Targeted markets include Buffalo, Long Island, Dallas, Tampa, Green Bay, San Antonio and St. Louis.
The league has launched a consumer marketing campaign in an attempt to drive viewers to call their cable companies or switch to satellite providers. The network is in 41 million homes, 27 million of which are satellite owners.
Time Warner has scoffed at carrying the network on a basic package and wants to place it on a sports tier. The sides are also said to be a good amount apart on subscriber fees.
The NFL Network begins carrying live regular-season football for the first time on Thanksgiving night, kicking off a package of eight Thursday and Saturday games.