Monday, November 27, 2006

You May or May Not See the Pack vs. ViQueens Dec. 21

You know that Thursday night Dec. 21 game between the Pack and the ViQueens at Lambeau? Well, depending upon whether you have cable or satellite -- and which system you subscribe to -- you may or may not see the game. That's because the game will be carried by the NFL Network. And the NFL Network is not carried by all cable systems. In particular, two of the largest cable systems don't carry the NFL Network: Time Warner and Charter Communications.

There's an agreement with the league and networks (even it's own) that any game scheduled to be carried only on cable also must be carried over the air in a team's "local" markets. Here's the official verbiage: "By NFL policy, NFL Network games will also be carried on free, over-the-air television in the city of the visiting team and in the city where the game is played if it is sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff."

In Wisconsin, the league has determined the Packers' local market to be Green Bay (duh) and Milwaukee. Not Madison. Not the entire state. Just...Green Bay and Milwaukee. So if you are outside of those "local" markets, you will not be able to get the game unless your cable system is onboard with the NFL Network, or you have either the Dish Network or DirecTV satellite. In fact, even if you are in those local markets you may not be able to see the game unless you have an over-the-air antenna. That's because Time Warner has the cable monopoly in the Milwaukee and Green Bay markets...and therefore, at present, will not be carrying the game. So, your choices -- no matter where you reside -- are: write and call Time Warner and Charter and demand they carry the NFL Network, subscribe to satellite, or get a very large antenna (yeah, baby!).