Football fans in the BuffaloNiagara region who subscribe to Time Warner Cable have reason to shout with Friday's announcement that an agreement has been reached for the nation's fourth largest pay TV provider to carry the NFL Network.
Time Warner is the last of the nation's largest cable and satellite carriers to agree to carry the NFL Network, which this season is broadcasting 13 Thursday night games.
In addition, Time Warner will carry RedZone, a game-day channel that replays every touchdown scored throughout the National Football League on Sunday afternoons. RedZone also airs significant plays within the 20-yard lines.
According to Time Warner, NFL Network and RedZone will debut Sunday.
The NFL Network will be carried on the digital basic and Sports Pass tiers. In the Buffalo area, it will air on Channels 187 (standard definition) and 1086 (high definition). RedZone, available only to Sports Pass customers, will be seen on Channels 190 and 1087.
At least one local football fan is thrilled at the news.
"I was getting ready to subscribe to Dish specifically because Time-Warner did not have the NFL Network," said Dave Dodd, who recently moved to the Lovejoy neighborhood. "Now I'll get cable, as long as they carry NFL Network.
"I used to go to my cousin's house in Syracuse to watch games if they were blacked out," said Dodd, who Friday afternoon was busy erecting a party tent outside the Hatch at Erie Basin Marina.
Buffalo Bills linebacker Bryan Scott said he, too, was affected by the TV dispute.
"It's funny, there are so many customers who choose their TV provider based on that kind of stuff, me included," Scott said. "I used to have Time Warner, and I switched."
Locally, WBBZ-TV officials had already contracted with the NFL Network to simulcast the Bills' upcoming Thursday night home game, Nov. 15 against Miami. WBBZ had "entered a very aggressive bid" with the NFL Network, according to Bob Koshinski, the station's general manager and vice president, to win the right to simulcast the game. The game now will air on both WBBZ and NFL Network if it is sold out.
Earlier this year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the number of Thursday night games carried on the NFL Network would increase from eight to 13, excluding the Thanksgiving night game featuring the New England Patriots at the New York Jets. That game will air on NBC.
"We're delighted to have reached an agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone that provides a good value to our customers," said Melinda Witmer, executive vice president and chief video and content officer for Time Warner Cable. "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the NFL."
The NFL Network also features all preseason games, the Senior Bowl, plus NFL draft coverage and the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony.
News Sports Reporter Jay Skurski contributed to this report.