With Cablevision Finally In The Red Zone, Time Warner Cable Is On The Clock

Now that Cablevision has reached a deal with NFL Network, the ball's in Time Warner Cable's court, as they remain the largest cable operator not carrying NFLN or NFL RedZone. Instead, TWC is busy addressing more pressing issues - like ice cream.

Cablevision subscribers: Your long national nightmare is over.

Your long National Football League nightmare, that is.

On Thursday, the seventh largest cable operator (ninth overall counting DirecTV and Dish) has reached a multi-year agreement with NFL Network to carry that channel, as well as NFLN’s premium RedZone channel.

Over half of Cablevision’s subscribers – those currently with access to selected “iO” packages – will receive NFL Network on Channel 150 and NFL RedZone on Channel 151, starting Friday – or just 3,574 days after NFL Network went on the air.

The deal with Cablevision pushes NFL Network’s household tally toward 70 million, and brings clearance of NFLN to many New York City viewers.

But not all of them. Because there is still one major cable operator that’s still pulling a long-term Darrelle Revis.

Yep, Time Warner Cable is still holding out.

Brian Rolapp, NFL Media’s COO, was asked by sports and sports media columnist Neil Best of Newsday – the newspaper Cablevision purchased four years ago – to comment on the current negotiations, if any, between NFL Network and Time Warner.

To nobody’s surprise, there are none.

No, not comments; negotiations.

“We are not talking, regrettably. We are not close.”

The fact that Time Warner immediately jettisoned the NFL Network and NFL RedZone signals upon taking over Insight Communications cable systems two weeks ago should give you an idea that TWC has some kind of grudge against NFLN.

And Rich Eisen is not having any of it, any longer.

“Time Warner Cable has officially run out of excuses,” the lead NFL Network personality tweeted as he announced the news to his followers. He also implored one of his followers, a TWC subscriber pining for NFLN, to “tell TWC, but don’t let the rep tell [you] they’re ‘in talks’ or ‘trying’. It’s BS.”

One Twitter user actually sent a tweet to Time Warner Cable/New York’s Twitter account – and copied Eisen, who replied, “Keen to hear this answer.” Hours later, the user wrote: “The answer is about what I expected. Complete and utter silence. Too busy tweeting about their ice cream truck.”

It’s true.

The first three tweets since the NFL Network/Cablevision deal announcement from the Time Warner Cable/New York Twitter account revolved around an ice cream truck traveling through Queens to raise money for charity.

Even Chad Johnson couldn’t make this stuff up.

When Rich Eisen is screaming for Time Warner Cable to resolve their differences and carry NFL Network, what Time Warner Cable actually hears is someone screaming for ice cream.

Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable is actually addressing NFL Network via its @TWCableHelp Twitter feed:

“While we cannot comment on specific terms, it’s Time Warner Cable’s position that the NFL’s demands are not in line with the current value of the programming they offer, especially since our customers already collectively pay millions of dollars per year to watch the majority of NFL games and content on networks like ESPN, Fox, CBS, and NBC. We understand that a segment of our customer base wants this programming, so we’ll continue negotiating.”

In other words, it might just be another 3,574 days before Time Warner Cable subscribers will get to see NFL Network. Remember, an NFL executive just said that they’re “not close” to negotiations with TWC.

Translation: TWC is serving what Rich Eisen dubs “BS” to its own customers.

And that’s not good business.

Fed-up Time Warner subscribers may opt to look for alternatives (e.g. Verizon FiOS) in their area. (Disclosure: I was actually a Cablevision customer for many years until I signed up with Verizon a couple of years ago – and I kid you not, just days ago, I re-upped for another two years; I don’t think this new deal is going to alter my personal situation.)

Of course, if you’re a TWC in a dubious situation, like ProFootballTalk.com writer Josh Alper, “in a building that doesn’t have access to FiOS or [DirecTV],” I suppose your best bet is to stick it out.

Like those Cablevision subscribers who stuck it out all these years without their adequate football fix.

With the second largest cable operator still denying its customers NFL Network, it’s time for Time Warner Cable to fix it.

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