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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cable vs NFL Network Math

Some math before the NFLN Dallas/GB non-telecast begins. There are 100M cable subscribers. 100M * $0.70/month * 12 months = $840M dollars. For EIGHT FREAKIN' GAMES! OF WHICH ~TWO OR THREE ARE ANY GOOD! If they gave too many good games to NFLN, then FOX, NBC, ESPN, and CBS would all get pissed at how things over there are watered down (which they are already, hence the 'flex' game scamming). And speaking about the networks, the deal they negotiated in 2004 costs them ~700M per year. That covers a whole lot of games every week for 17 weeks plus playoff and some super bowl coverage too. Now contrast that with the 840M/yr the NFL wants for its NLFN. The NFL is dreaming. It is a shakedown, trying to get that much money for an 8 trick (or more like 3 trick) pony. They can argue that you are getting 12 months worth of programming, but how many people are watching football in February-August?

Here are some prices which other cable networks get ($/subscriber): ESPN 2.90, ESPN2 0.33, ESPN News 0.04, Disney Channel 0.80, Cartoon Network 0.08, USA 0.60, CNN 0.44, Fox News 0.60, Nickelodeon 0.34, TNT 0.89. The issue here is that people watch sportscenter every day. They watch a lot of this programming 24/7/365. The NFL Network is a niche channel with a narrow segment that will turn the network on a handful of times PER YEAR. TNT (similarly priced) gives a strong content of movies and shows that are watched all year long by a wide audience. The bottomline is that NFLN is a premium channel and the NFL wants the entire country funding it.

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