The greedy bastards of the NFL, trying to push the NFL Network to as easy access as possible on the cable side, have finally arranged a deal with the greedy bastards at Comcast, who have threatened to take everyone to court who doesn’t play their way, in a press release/press conference this morning that frankly, we could just as soon let go under the radar without much comment.
Still, we report it, because it’s in the contract.
From the release that came at about 6:30 a.m. (right now, Roger Goodell and the Comcast big wigs are explaining on a conference call why things are so honky dory right now, so quotes to come), which comes with dual datelines — Philadelphia and New York — and Comcast apparently won the rights to be named first in this statement:
UPDATE: A blow-by-blow account of Goodell and Comcast explaining themselves (linked here)
Comcast Corporation and the National Football League announced today that they have reached a new, long-term agreement regarding carriage of NFL Network and complete settlement of all outstanding legal disputes.
The carriage agreement consists of a broad array of video content, including the live (24/7) Network, video on demand for Comcast’s Digital Classic cable customers, and the ability to offer the NFL’s RedZone Channel when it is created.
Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will begin repositioning NFL Network from the Sports Entertainment Package to its Digital Classic level of service with a full launch by August 1, reaching nearly two-thirds of the company’s total digital customer base. In addition to NFL Network’s in-studio shows, commentary and live-game broadcasts, Comcast’s Digital Classic customers will now have access to a robust suite of NFL content On Demand, including game highlights, game replays, the “best” of NFL Films, players and coaches interviews, local team highlights, and other NFL programming whenever they want a piece of the action.
“We are delighted to have come to an agreement with the NFL,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. “Our goal has always been to provide our digital customers with access to the NFL’s unique content and, working together, we have struck the right balance between value and distribution on a variety of viewing platforms. We are looking forward to bringing the NFL’s programming to our customers just in time for the start of the NFL season.”
“We are very pleased that NFL Network and other NFL content will be widely distributed in millions of more homes on Comcast’s service,” said National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We look forward to having NFL Network’s coverage of training camps and the preseason showcased this summer on Comcast. NFL Network is the only TV channel devoted exclusively to football 24/7, 365 days a year.”
The NFL and Comcast will take immediate joint action to discontinue pending legal actions before the Federal Communications Commission and a New York state court.
In another olive branch move, Comcast and ESPN also had this announcement earlier today (except Bristol, CT was listed as the dateline before Philadelphia):
Disney and ESPN Media Networks and Comcast Corporation today announced an agreement to add ESPNU to its Digital Classic level of service and ESPN360.com to Comcast.net. Comcast will launch ESPNU in a majority of its cable systems in time for the start of the college football season. This includes Comcast’s southern systems which will enjoy coverage of ESPNU’s new Saturday game-of-the-week Southeastern Conference (SEC) package. Comcast will also make ESPN360.com available to its high-speed Internet customers for no additional charge through Comcast.net, which reaches 17 million unique users per month, also in time for this year’s college football season.
With this agreement, ESPNU will have more than 46 million subscribers and ESPN360.com will be available to nearly 41 million homes, a majority of broadband homes in America.