Paying a ‘Sports Tax,’ Even if You Don’t Watch

The New York Times

By BRIAN STELTER and AMY CHOZICK

December 15, 2011

Are you ready for some football?

You are paying for it regardless.

Although “sports” never shows up as a line item on a cable or satellite bill, American television subscribers pay, on average, about $100 a year for sports programming — no matter how many games they watch. A sizable portion goes to the National Football League, which dominates sports on television and which struck an extraordinary deal this week with the major networks — $27 billion over nine years — that most likely means the average cable bill will rise again soon.

Those spiraling costs are fraying the formerly tight bonds between the creators and distributors of television. Cable channels like ESPN that carry games are charging cable and satellite operators more money, and broadcast networks are now doing the same, demanding cash for their broadcast signals and using sports as leverage.

And higher fees are raising concerns across the industry that cable bills may be reaching the breaking point for some consumers who are short of money.

The N.F.L. contracts announced this week “will surely enrich N.F.L. owners and players just as much as it will impoverish all pay TV subscribers, particularly those who will never watch an N.F.L. game,” said Matthew M. Polka, the president of the American Cable Association, which represents small cable operators. His group wants government officials to step in and make it harder for channel owners to demand higher fees for carriage and drop the channels when operators disagree.

Continue reading this article here:

The New York Times: Paying a ‘Sports Tax,’ Even if You Don’t Watch

All press inquiries should be directed to Mike Heimowitz at michael.heimowitz@porternovelli.com.

Comments are closed.

  1. Nateithia Ashford

    please don’t take our stations away we need this.just think if everyone goes back to 3,5and9 then who would be buying ur channels u be loosing big time remember Twc been here u still trying to get threw.so just member if it weren’t for Twc.were would u be.

    Nateithia Ashford

  2. Gurdev

    Heres what I found on the DirectTV website about Friday Night Lights .DIRECTV IS TURNING ON FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTSThis fall, see all-new espiodes of Friday Night Lights—uncut and commercial-free—only on DIRECTV, months before they air on NBC in 2009. Don’t miss an episode of this award-winning drama series.Tune in to The 101ae Network Wednesdays, 9pm, beginning October 1.Re-airs Fridays at 9pm. Presented by Vaseline Wolverine.I know this doesn’t answer your question about watching online but it does say that in 2009 NBC will be airing FNLs .I’m a HUGE fan of this show too ..and I’ve been thinking more and more about switching from Time Warner Cable (very similar to Comcast) to a satelite company b/c TWC keeps messing with all the channels there. I just found out last night that as of October 2nd, TWC will no longer carry The CW I watch enough shows on The CW to justify it to myself to switch ..if I end up with DirectTV I won’t have to wait for FNLs but if I don’t switch, I will have to wait!I can’t wait to find out whats going to happen between Tyra and Landry ..