Verizon Extends NFL Network Package, Adds Hearst Argyle Stations to FiOS TV

Verizon has had a busy couple of weeks beefing up the program lineup for its fledgling FiOS TV service.

Earlier this month, the telco signed a multiyear extension deal with the NFL Network (opens in new tab). Starting August 1, NFL Network will be found on Channel 304 on FiOS TV Premier, the 180-plus channel, all-digital programming package.

NFL Network will televise 168 games nationally during the 2006 season, including 52 preseason games and a regular-season primetime game package debuting this Thanksgiving. With the new deal, football fans will be able to choose from nearly 2,000 original hours of programming on NFL Network. In addition to NFL Network's regular programming, Verizon also carries NFL Network's high-definition feed and NFL Network on demand. NFL Network previously was part of the FiOS TV Sports package.

"Verizon has embraced NFL Network's product, and we look forward to expanding our relationship and working with them to create great awareness for both of our services," said Brian Decker, NFL Network's vice president of national accounts.

This week, Verizon signed a retrans deal with Hearst-Argyle station group to carry four TV stations where Verizon offers FiOS. The stations include WCVB (ABC), Boston; WMUR (ABC), Manchester, NH; WBAL (NBC), Baltimore; and WMOR (Independent), Tampa.

The agreement includes video-on-demand, HDTV, and the stations' multicast programming. Verizon currently offers FiOS in Burlington, Lynnfield, Reading, North Reading, Winchester and Woburn, Mass., and plans to roll out FiOS in Tewksbury, Wakefield, Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich and Stoneham, Mass.

In Maryland, Verizon offers WBAL in parts of Clarksdale, Columbia and Ellicott City, and it has franchise authorization to launch FiOS TV in Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Bowie and Laurel. In Florida, Verizon offers WMOR in parts of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee counties. It recently was awarded a franchise for Sarasota County.

Verizon FiOS TV provides a broad array of all-digital programming, two dozen high-definition channels, up to 2,500 on-demand titles and FiOS TV Widgets, which supplies one-touch, on-demand access to real-time local weather and traffic. In addition to Florada, Maryland and Massachusetts, Verizon offers FiOS TV in more than 55 communities in California, New York, Virginia and Texas.