The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

November 26, 2007

9:55 p.m.: Reske wants NFL Network, cable companies to strike deal

Robert Conrad, 77, enjoyed the Colts versus Falcons game on his television Thursday night. Conrad, who lives in Stony Creek Township, would not have been able to watch the game if he had been in another part of the state.

The game aired on the Indianapolis NBC affiliate, WTHR (Channel 13), but in other parts of Indiana and the nation, the game was available only on the NFL Network.

ESPN, the owner of the NFL Network, has been pushing cable companies and satellite companies to pick up the all-football, all-the-time opportunity, but providers such as Time Warner are saying no. The cable companies say the NFL Network is asking for 70 cents a month per subscriber.

State Rep. Scott Reske, D-District 37, is pushing for a solution between the two media entities. Reske wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission requesting a look at the issue. In January, if no resolution is found, Reske will introduce legislation that will force the sides to negotiate.

“All I’m saying is, that they need to come to the table,” Reske said. “There’s three components to this. One is the cable companies, of course. The second is these independent networks, and the third is the customers.”

For two years, Reske said, he has received constant complaints about the rift from people who could not see their beloved sports teams in action.

“For me, it’s not cable versus the NFL Network; it’s the customers are frustrated, and these are legalized monopolies, utility monopolies,” Reske said. “That frustration is not being handled in a timely way.”

Reske said he would rather see a uniform agreement come nationally, but a local agreement could help remedy some problems.

“Something has to be done,” he said.

Comcast, which serves Indianapolis, offers the NFL Network as part of a special bundle of sports channels for subscribers. The cost for the bundle is about $4.95 per month.

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