Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What if they gave a football game and nobody watched? 

Brian Goff calls the tug of war between the NFL Network and big cable firms a "classic game of chicken" and the NFL has the upper hand this week thanks to a Packers-Cowboys marquee game on a network that currently reaches 1/3 of the market. Brian worries about the government trying to force a deal. That is already happening in some parts of Wisconsin with the Big Ten Network. Smaller cable companies don't have the whip hand and usually capitulate.

At least the NFL Network is somewhat a private entity. But Steven Dubner points out they carry two tiers of broadcast, and to get the one that has what you want -- the game -- you have to put it in the basic cable and pay for every subscriber to your service ($.70@), not just the ones that want to watch pro football. Even the Packers and Cowboys get less than a 100% share. Steve Dittmore indicates the NFL Network is a loser so far.

But the cable companies aren't exempt from criticism; they are government-protected in many markets as monopolists. Indeed, given BTN has mostly public universities, it's two government created monopolists fighting each other. Too bad both can't lose.

Please help me convince Mrs. S that freedom of choice in the Banaian household means Daddy gets Dish for Christmas.