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NFL said to have deal with Time Warner for NFL Network

By SCOTT SOSHNICK, Bloomberg.com

The National Football League has reached agreement with Time Warner (TWC) Cable Inc. to carry the league-owned NFL Network and RedZone Channel, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The multiyear accord may be announced later today, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the contract hasn’t been signed. New York-based Time Warner, the second-largest U.S. cable company with about 12 million subscribers, had been the only major cable provider without the NFL Network.

The National Football League reached agreement with Time Warner Cable Inc. to carry the league-owned NFL Network and RedZone Channel, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.

It isn’t known when the channels will appear on Time Warner systems, one of the people said. NFL Network will show the Cleveland Browns at the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 27.

“It was inevitable,” cable television consultant Lee Berke said in a telephone interview. “Once the other carriers have it, then it would’ve put Time Warner at a competitive disadvantage.”

The agreement comes about a month after the most-watched U.S. sports league reached agreement with Cablevision Systems Corp. to carry the two channels.

According to one of the people, NFL Network will be placed on Time Warner’s digital basic tier, while RedZone will join the carrier’s Sports Pass, which includes NHL Network and Tennis Channel.

NFL Network airs 13 primetime regular-season games. RedZone is a game-day network that shows touchdowns and important plays inside the 20-yard line.

Time Warner spokeswoman Maureen Huff declined to comment. NFL spokesmen Brian McCarthy and Dan Masonson didn’t immediately return e-mails and phone calls seeking comment on whether an agreement had been reached.

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