Comcast, NFL Network Make Strange Bedfellows

By Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, May 19, 2009  |  Updated 5:16 PM EDT
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Comcast, NFL Network Make Strange Bedfellows

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Football fans will have more games on cable this season.

After years of bickering Comcast and the National Football League have reached an agreement to bring the NFL Network to millions of cable TV viewers.

The NFL Network will now be carried on Comcast's second-most popular digital cable tier, according to ESPN.com.

The deal ends a long battle between Comcast and the NFL that started in 2006 when Comcast put the NFL Network on an exclusive sports-programming tier. The Cable behemoth battled with the NFL over the price they wanted users to hike over for the NFL Network despite the channel only offering a handful of live games.

Pa. Sen. Arlen Specter even got involved after fans couldn't view a Patriots game a few years back.

Cable subscribers of course are going to have to pay up for the right to view exclusive NFL Network games on Thursday nights. It will cost an extra 40 to 50 cents per subscriber -- a number far less than the nearly 80 cents the NFL originally wanted from Comcast users, according to Philly.com.

The deal will not only give Comcast customers the NFL Network but also a new channel call the Red Zone that will jump between live Sunday NFL action as teams enter their opponent's red zone (inside the 20), reported to Philly.com.

So what was it like for Comcast to enter the ring with the NFL?

"I am very pleased," Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said in an interview. "Of course no one likes having a dispute with the NFL."

Comcast should start carrying the NFL Network on August 1, according to ESPN.

So after all the hoopla we can all sleep tight knowing that Sen. Specter can focus his attention on getting votes rather than NFL games on his TV.

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