The NFL Network has landed its first analog clearance, taking over the real estate on Adelphia vacated by the Empire Sports Network as it goes out of business.
Empire Sports’ reach covers nearly 500,000 Adelphia subscribers in Buffalo and surrounding areas of upstate New York. The NFL Network adds those customers today, swelling its total to more than 25 million.
There’s an outside chance that two other digital sports networks, NBA TV and College Sports TV, could shift to analog on Time Warner Cable systems reaching 2.4 million homes in New York and surrounding areas. Time Warner is locked in negotiations with Cablevision over renewal of the MSG Network and Fox Sports N.Y.
Cablevision wants an increase in its license fee, which Time Warner says is unjustified. TW points to the fact that MSG and FSNY will lose their best summer attraction, the New York Mets, at the end of the 2005-06 season. The Mets are in partnership with TW Cable and Comcast Corp. to create a new regional sports network built around the Mets’ games, beginning in 2006.
But both Cablevision and Time Warner have extended the deadline twice in the past, and both sides say they’re still talking.