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NFL to Huddle with Kerry

The National Football League told Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) it is ready to meet with him next week about carriage of NFL Network on Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

"We will do our utmost to clear calendar conflicts for the commissioner [Roger Goodell] and other attendees on our side in order to permit the meeting to go forward as soon as possible," said Goodell's assistant, Pete Abitante.

Kerry wrote all three parties to ask for the meeting, concerned that there won't be a big enough audience for the New England Patriots at New York Giants game Dec. 29. If the Patriots beat the Jets and Dolphins in the interim, the Giants game would be for an undefeated regular season. NFL Network is currently carried on a sports tier on Comcast and not at all on Time Warner.

But Abitante reiterated that the league wasn't interested in one-time broader distribution of the Dec. 29 game, or of only live games (one cable proposal is to carry only the eight live NFL games the channel offers rather than the balance of its programming).

Abitante framed the potential meeting with Kerry as a discussion of "carriage arrangements for the NFL Network -- including the Dec. 29 game."

A Comcast executive has said scheduling conflicts prevent the cable operator from attending the meeting, while Time Warner said it could be there, but wasn't sure there was much to talk about.

Separately, Comcast sued the NFL for alleged breach of contract.