The National Football League is ready to negotiate with cable operators for carriage of its NFL Network, but is not interested in a one-time shot at wider distribution for the network.
That's according to communications director Seth Palansky, responding to a request from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for a meeting in Washington, D.C., next week between the NFL, Comcast and Time Warner Cable to try to work out a way that more people can watch the Dec. 29 game pitting the New England Patriots at the New York Giants.
Kerry is anticipating that the game will be a record-setter, with the Patriots potentially matching the perfect season of the Miami Dolphins.
"We are fully prepared to meet with Sen. Kerry next week, along with Time Warner and Comcast," Palansky said. But what the league is not prepared to do, he added, is sign off on "a piecemeal approach that involves broader distribution of NFL Network for only one game.”
"We are prepared to negotiate immediately -- anytime and anywhere -- with Time Warner and Comcast for a long-term solution that will make NFL Network and its 24/7 programming available on a broad and affordable basis," Palansky said, pointing out that the channel is "accessible and affordable on two satellite companies, telco video services and 240 other cable companies."
Comcast was preparing a response at press time to Kerry's letter. Time Warner had not returned a call for comment. Comcast carries the network on a sports tier, while Time Warner does not carry the network.