Comcast, NFL pact on carriage deal

Agreement includes VOD, RedZone

Comcast and the NFL have reached a deal for carriage of the NFL Network as well as video-on-demand and carriage of the NFL’s proposed RedZone channel.

That means an end to their program carriage dispute currently before an FCC judge, and legal action in New York state, the sides said in announcing the deal.

Comcast will move the network from a sports tier to its Digital Classic service by Aug. 1. Digital Classic reaches some two-thirds of digital customers.

“Our goal has always been to provide our digital customers with access to the NFL’s unique content,” said Comcast chairman Brian Roberts in announcing the deal. “Working together we have struck the right balance between value and distribution on a variety of viewing platforms.”

The companies said they would take “immediate action to discontinue pending legal actions before the Federal Communications Commission and a New York state court.”

The subscriber fee that Comcast will pay appears to be considerably lower than the 70¢ the NFL had been seeking but higher than the 25¢ Comcast had cited. Sources indicated that it wound up in the 40¢-50¢ range. Deal is believed to run 10 years.

(John Eggerton writes for Daily Variety sister publication Broadcasting & Cable.)