The ongoing disagreement between Comcast and the NFL has led the MSO to file a breach of contract suit against the sports league for the latter’s ad campaign encouraging customers to “make the switch” to satellite TV to get the NFL Network.
In May, Comcast won a court case – involving the NFL – giving it the right to manage its channel lineup as it sees fit, essentially allowing it to move the NFL channel to its sports tier, for which subscribers must pay an additional fee. The NFL wants its network on the basic tier.
There is no room for compromise – the channel is either in the basic tier or it isn’t, which automatically turns the negotiations between the two into a standoff. So the NFL is attempting to force Comcast to relent and return the NFL Channel to its basic tier by not only informing viewers that its channel is available to all with the basic satellite package, but it has gone one step further to actually encourage viewers to switch to satellite.
The Comcast complaint, filed in the New York Supreme Court, calls that a breach of contract and seeks unspecified damages and an order prohibiting NFL Enterprises from encouraging Comcast customers to cancel their subscriptions.
Being asked to pay an extra fee to get an additional product is considered by some fans to be a federal offense, and Sen. John Kerry has responded to those fans’ appeals to get involved.
Previously, he urged the parties involved to come to an agreement quickly. He subsequently invited NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Time Warner Cable President Glenn Britt and Comcast EVP David L. Cohen to a meeting next week, in which he hopes to broker a deal between operators and the league.