Interesting WSJ article about the failure of the NFL in their battle vs. cable operators to garner big money for their new network.
The NFL Network saved eight pro games for itself, hoping to leverage its fledgling cable channel into millions more homes with games that weren’t widely available. The NFL gambled that lessening the access to the eight games would prompt fans to complain to cable companies so more of them would carry the channel. It was a controversial move. The cable companies have complained that a vast majority of their viewers are uninterested in NFL games and would end up paying higher fees to support programming they didn’t want.
The NFL Network airs its final live game of the season, Giants vs. Redskins, this Saturday.
In prior regional skirmishes, it has been the sports purveyors who usually prevailed over the cable operators. But for the seven games that have so far aired, the ratings were only average. The NFL cable network, which had hoped to get a boost to 70 million homes, remains at about 40 million.