NEW YORK — The NFL Network continues to march toward the goal posts of widespread coverage, landing a carriage deal with Adelphia Communications, the fifth-largest cable operator in the U.S.
When added to previous carriage agreements with Comcast, DirecTV, Charter and Insight, among others, the NFL Network will soon hit 20 million subscribers, making it the first network to reach that plateau within the first year of operation.
The Adelphia contract is similar to other cable-operator deals in that Adelphia will pay a monthly license fee of about 22¢ a subscriber for an eight-year license term, with penny-a-year increases throughout the life of the contract. The ad-supported network makes two commercial minutes an hour available to the cable system for sale to local advertisers.
The NFL Network will go up on what’s called digital basic, which means subscribers will have to buy digital boxes to pick it up. Two million of Adelphia’s 5 million subscribers are digital customers. But Adelphia has agreed not to shove NFL Network onto a digital tier, which would cost subscribers an additional monthly fee on top of the stipend for the digital box.
Over the next few weeks, Adelphia will roll out NFL Network to its systems in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y., and selected markets in New England.
Deal includes not only the NFL Network but the channel’s video-on-demand programming and a separate feed that simulcasts the network programs in high definition.
The NFL Network doesn’t carry any regular-season NFL games but schedules 54 preseason games, 22 European League games, newsshows, interview shows and classic games.