Armed with its new package of regular-season football games, the NFL Network has secured an upgrade on DISH Network, dropping down to the EchoStar satellite system’s America’s Top 60 package as part of a new multi-year extension.
The NFL-owned network was previously available on DISH’s more expensive America’s Top 120 package. The move begins July 13.
With the deal, the NFL says its network is now available in nearly 41 million homes.
With deals on both DISH and DirecTV, the network will now turn its attention to securing upgraded or new deals with major cable operators in an effort to use the leverage of its expanded programming to increase carriage.
NFL Network executives are just now beginning talks with the major operators in hopes of having new deals prior to this season.
The network will look to upgrade on systems such as Comcast, Cox and Adelphia, while securing deals with operators such as Time Warner and Cablevision.
The NFL Network also announced plans for a new Sunday-night highlight show, NFL GameDay. The 90-minute show, airing at 11:30 ET, will be hosted by Rich Eisen. The network is in early talks with other talent to fill the analyst roles.