Suddenlink Kicks Off NFL Network Launch
Just three days after NFL Network reached a master agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative, Suddenlink has joined the pro football league's distribution huddle.
Suddenlink, as part of the NCTC accord announced on Aug. 20, has already begun to roll out NFL Network, which presents round the clock football coverage and televises eight league games in primetime during the second half of the season, in some of its markets.
Moreover, the St. Louis-headquartered operator expects to make the service, as well as the NFL RedZone channel, available to all its subscribers by the time the pro football league kicks off its first slate of Sunday games on Sept. 12.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, brings one of the key cable holdouts into NFL Network's distribution fold. Suddenlink, like fellow NCTC members, Cablevision and Charter, had remained on the sidelines with the in-house pro football league service and NFL RedZone, over pricing and positioning issues. Time Warner Cable, the nation's No. 2 cable operator, also does not carry the channels.
With the launch to Suddenlink's more than 1 million subscribers, NFL Network will count nearly 58 million homes.
It was unclear at press time where Suddenlink would station NFL Network and the ad hoc NFL RedZone service, which highlights all of the action when teams penetrate the 20-yard line, the so-called red zone, and scoring plays from the Sunday afternoon games, to its subscribers.
Some affiliates, like Comcast and Dish Network have offered NFL RedZone as part of their sports tiers, while others like AT&T U-Verse and Blue Ridge Communications have affixed the scoring channel to their HD packages. For its part, Verizon FiOS presented NFL RedZone as a season-long stand-alone offering during the 2009-10 campaign.
Suddenlink said it will notify customers when the channels are available in their community and how to subscribe to them. As NFL Network and NFL RedZone are launched, the company will also update the local channel listings published on Suddenlink.com, where subscribers can view their local lineup after entering a valid street address, city, state, and zip code.
"We're excited to be able to offer NFL Network and NFL RedZone to our customers who have been asking for them," said Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerry Kent in a statement.
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