NFL Net rejects TW plan for Rutgers game

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NEW YORK -- The NFL Network has said thanks, but no thanks, to Time Warner Cable's response to carry the Texas Bowl but no other part of the network on the basic cable tier.

Earlier this week the NFL Network offered its two big New York metro region holdouts Cablevision and Time Warner Cable the opportunity to carry the channel for free from Christmas Eve until the afternoon of Dec. 30. That would include the channel's telecast of the Texas Bowl, which features local favorite Rutgers against Kansas State.

Both Time Warner Cable and Cablevision jumped at the chance to carry the Texas Bowl but weren't as interested in the rest of the NFL Network, particularly on the most basic cable tier. Time Warner Cable said it would either carry the bowl game on basic or the whole free preview on digital.

In a letter to Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, NFL Network CEO Steven M. Bornstein rejected Time Warner Cable's proposal because it didn't allow the MSO's customers a chance to watch all of the channel's programming. Bornstein wrote that the network hoped that if cable customers liked what they saw it would give "both of us an impetus to move forward and negotiate a mutually satisfactory carriage agreement."

Time Warner Cable said it couldn't provide the NFL Network a basic-cable channel for the entire free week. The NFL Network said it would look at Time Warner Cable's channels to see if there was an unused channel there.

Time Warner Cable said it was clear where the NFL Network was coming from.

"It is not to ensure Rutger's fans see their team. But, rather to ensure their Network is sampled by the largest number of our customers in the hopes they might gain some leverage in the longer-term negotiations that have been going on for months," a spokesman said.

Cablevision also accepted the NFL Network's proposal to carry the Texas Bowl game, but not all of the channel's programming. Cablevision and the NFL Network couldn't be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
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