Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thursday Night Football a show not all can see

By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

It is Thanksgiving and you will be able to see the traditional games with Miami - Detroit starting at 12:30pm on CBS (9 in Washington and 13 in Baltimore), followed by Tampa Bay - Dallas at 4:15pm on FOX ( 5 in Washington and 45 in Baltimore.)

At 7pm the much anticipated debut of the NFL Network’s prime time coverage of the Chiefs and the Broncos kicks off with Total Access Live from Kansas City then at 8pm Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collingsworth will call the game.

However even if you do have cable in the Washington/Baltimore area you may not be able to see the game between the Chiefs and the Broncos you will need to check your channel guide or the cable companies website to find out if you will get the game.

The NFL Network is on Comcast as well as Cox the two major cable systems in the region however it is on the digital tier and in some cases part of the “sports pack.” Subscribers to both the Dish Network and DirecTV will be able to watch the game. As a matter of fact the Baltimore/Washington area boasts one of the largest subscriber bases for the NFL Network anywhere in the country.

So we are very lucky that we at least have a chance to watch the games, fans in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Houston, Green Bay, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Kansas City and Indianapolis will not even have a choice. The NFL Network is not carried on Time Warner, Cablevision or some of the smaller cable systems around the country causing football fans to be very angry.

Cable companies and the NFL Network have been locked in a heated battle over the price per subscriber as well as the placement of the channel on the popular extended basic platform that most of the 90 million people in the country get in their homes.

The NFL Network like the ESPN contract demands that the two teams involved in the telecast will see the game on local TV. Next weeks Ravens-Cincinnati game will be seen on WMAR TV 2 and the Redskins-New York telecast that will be the final game of the season will be on local TV in Washington.

You always have radio WBAL, WTEM and SIRIUS all plan on airing the games.

Fast facts:

1. The NFL Network has 40 million subscribers and is the fastest growing cable network.
2. ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and TBS have in excess of 90 million subscribers nationwide.
3. There are 115 million television homes in the United States.

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