As a result of Fox taking over the Thursday Night Football package from CBS and NBC, Comcast will move NFL Network from its Digital Starter Package, its most widely distributed tier, to other less viewed packages. NFL Network simulcasts the TNF package and will also air seven games that will be exclusive to the channel.
Comcast moved NFL Network to the Digital Starter tier from Digital Preferred in 2016 when NBC took half of the TNF package sharing it with CBS. But now, subscribers to Digital Starter have been informed that NFL Network will be moving back to Digital Preferred (Comcast’s second-most popular tier) and Sports Entertainment starting on July 1.
NFL Network and Comcast have had a long period of peace after having a prolonged carriage battle last decade. When NFL Network launched, Comcast originally put NFL Network on its sports tier and would not put it on its widely distributed packages. Then in 2009, the two sides came to an agreement when Comcast put NFL Network on the Digital Preferred package.
The two sides also agreed for Comcast to pick up RedZone and the cable provider’s decision regarding NFL Network does not affect RedZone.
This will put NFL Network back where it used to be on Comcast’s systems before 2016. In addition to NFL Network, Fox will simulcast the games in Spanish on Fox Deportes. So for eleven games, Thursday Night Football will be aired on three outlets in addition to an online partner which will be announced later.
For NFL Network, it’s a slight setback, but it’s back to the beginning with Comcast. The Thursday Night Football schedule begins in Week 2 on September 13 on NFL Network with Fox picking up in Week 4 on September 27.