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Hey, where's my refund?

Before we commence this tirade about the NFL Network, let's pause to be thankful that on days like this, with world leaders being assassinated and tigers mauling people at the zoo (the zoo across town from where I'm staying for the Emerald Bowl), we can go on tirades about safe, relatively trivial subjects like the NFL Network.

Now ... do we DirecTV customers get refunds for Saturday's Patriots-Giants game?

That didn't cross my mind until this morning, but it's a worthwhile question. Believe me, I didn't get DirecTV because I enjoy watching a screen that's completely blank except for the notation "Searching for signal ...'' whenever a storm blows through, which has happened way too often in the past year. (Note to Verizon Fios: what's the deal with not having NBA League Pass? You're losing a customer on that one.) I didn't necessarily get it for the NFL Network, either, but that was a nice perk.

I could look at it as the NFL's version of the free Showtime weekends, planned specifically to attract possible subscribers, and the NFL is trying to spin it in much that way. However, there are plenty of other movie channels I could choose to pay for. There is only one place you can get that slate of NFL games every season. You make the sacrifice, whatever sacrifice it might be, to get the network, and then they give it away for free at the last second, giving away the exclusivity we grudgingly pay for, whether it's financially in paying for a higher sports tier, or getting a satellite that can be unreliable, and that doesn't have On Demand, which killed any chance for me to catch up on last season's The Wire.

Not that everybody shouldn't have regular access to the games. The NFL shouldn't be forcing its fans to make those kinds of choices. It was a stupid, arrogant plan to begin with, albeit perfectly suited to what's still the most arrogant sports league around (amazing with the continued existence of Major League Baseball). If the NFL wants to make people jump through hoops for its programming the rest of the year, fine. If you're that much of a fanatic that you'll pay a premium for combine coverage and live minicamps and, you know, cheerleading competitions, then you ought to be able to. NBA fans do it, with both NBA TV and League Pass. They know what they're getting, they know what they're paying for, they've made a conscious choice.

But this whole idea of withholding a product that was smartly and fairly distributed for the last several decades - yes, including to ESPN, which has been on basic cable forever and has blocked out a far, far smaller percentage of the audience - and try to flip the blame onto the cable companies and tell the fans to leave them alone and go complain to Comcast or whoever? That's so brazen, so obnoxious, so greedy, that the NFL deserves to pay mightily and for a long time for trying it.

That includes not only caving in and giving the game away to two major networks (wonder why Fox was left out - possibly because Fox and DirecTV are both owned by the same company) but also refunding whatever extra subscribers to all the systems carrying the game had to pay for the network strictly to see the restricted games.

I got holiday bills to pay. I expect my refund check ASAP.



Thats OK David,

It is nice for NBC and CBS to pick up the game...except I'm boycotting it. I'm sure the ratings will be high in Boston and New York, but I'm hoping that the rest of America couldn't care less about that game and tunes out altogether.

uhhhhhhhhh....what? Seriously, if you missed the last season of the Wire, you should be pissed. Probably the most compelling TV series I have ever watched.

You're right, the NFL owes something to us loyal NFL Network subscribers, now that the league is giving away our prize jewel to the masses.

But instead of a refund, I think NFL Network should carry MORE exclusive games in 2008, not just the eight late-season contests.

How about one "NFL Sunday Brunch" game at 10 a.m. Eastern, between East Coast teams, each week of the season? CBS and Fox would complain that it steps on their pre-game shows, but I could care less.

Also, if NFL Network finds a play-by-play guy with a pulse to replace Bryant Gumbel, I'm willing to call it even.

What about Comcast customers like me who shell out an extra $5 a month to have the privilege of watching these games? Where’s my refund? When I signed up for it, the guy on the phone was trying to sell me on all the other channels that come with that ‘sports’ package which I have yet to even glance at.

Wow. Just wow. You sir are a very special kind of idoit. Do you really think DirecTV is purchasing programming from the NFL network a la carte and that each and every program available is billed separately? Think before you type.

All this for a game that will be competitive for the first 46 second's......like Sting said the world is running down...gotta be......this only makes the NFL network even more worthless than it already is. If I mistakenly watch 2 more seconds of NFL football follies Im ridin.....

First off I like the coverage the NFL network provides, I used to watch sportscenter several times in the morning now I watch an hour of SC then flip to the NFL network. Second if you are experiencing a lot of rain fade you should look into a dish realignment, my directv rarely goes out and I do mean rarely like the extremely hard rain where if you were driving you would pull off the road, and when it does it's never longer than 5 minutes. And D*tv also now has demand, look into it.


Here is what is really going on:

Your service provider (Comcast/DirecTV/Dish/Whoever) is charging additional fees for the channel and requiring the purchase of a Sports Tier Package to increase their revenue and increase the likelihood that you will view their sports programming (e.g. MASN, YES, MASN2)

Service Providers are also placing the network on a high numbered channel (275 for me) and placing their networks (MASN) on lower numbered channels to increase viewers.

Service Providers are the culprit and not NFL Network.

Look for Comcast and others to charge for ESPN in the future while offering their low budget (see MASN) for free.

"Here’s the gist of the battle: NFL Network wants to be placed on digital basic cable with all customers paying between 60-70 cents a month for the channel. Time Warner, on the other hand, wants to offer the network on a surcharged sports tier available to subscribers who pay extra for it. The network in return has rejected Time Warner’s offer to let the network charge a fee for the games that would be passed on to the customers"


I agree, those of us that paid for NFL network should get some form of compensation.

ps - haters - use spellcheck before you hit "Post".

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