FCC Media Bureau Orders Time Warner to Carry NFL Network, For Now

On August 7th, the FCC Media Bureau denied Time Warner Cable’s request for a stay and reconsideration of its order requiring that the company reinstate carriage of the NFL Network on cable systems recently acquired from Adelphia and Comcast. Time Warner had dropped carriage on the systems on August 1st.

After unsuccessful negotiations between Time Warner and the NFL prior to the closing of the Adelphia deal, the NFL offered Time Warner authorization to carry the NFL Network for 30 days under the same conditions as on the Adelphia and Comcast systems to be transferred. This would have given Time Warner the time it needed in order to give customers the required 30-day notice for dropping a network. Instead, the offer was rejected and the NFL Network dropped at the start of the month.

The NFL filed an emergency petition for injunctive relief with the FCC, and on August 3rd the Media Bureau granted the injunction, with a review pending. Time Warner shot back with an application for a stay and a request for a review by the commission, to which the NFL filed an opposition on August 4th.

The August 7th order from the FCC requires Time Warner to resume carriage of the NFL Network under the terms prior to the acquisition until the NFL petition is resolved, or 30 days after Time Warner notifies its customers of the decision to drop the network.