NFL Network pacts with Cablevision

Time Warner remains holdout in signing up league-owned channel

The NFL Network has signed a carriage pact with Cablevision, filling a key hole in its distribution network and ending 10 years of talks.

Pact begins immediately, weeks before the season starts. Deal includes Red Zone Channel, a major earner for the net. Long Island-based Cablevision is in 3.3 million homes.

The NFL Network and Red Zone Channel are offered to viewers who subscribe to Comcast, Mediacom, Charter, Cox, AT&T, DirecTV and Verizon. Time Warner Cable is the largest cable provider that’s yet to sign with the league-owned channel.

NFL net has expanded to 13 games this season from eight, and there would have been pressure from football fans to get a deal done. All other NFL games are telecast on NBC, CBS and Fox as well as ESPN, and the sport remains a huge ratings draw.

It was the games increase and Red Zone’s popularity that helped seal the deal, said NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp. Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers is the net’s first game of the season on Sept. 13.

As for getting a deal done with Time Warner Cable, Rolapp said, “We are not talking, regrettably, so as a result we’re obviously not close.”