Comcast, Cowboys to Kick Off Cable Channel

DALLAS Comcast and the Dallas Cowboys will launch a 24-hour digital channel for the National Football League team that will reach major markets of the Southwest, the cable company said.

The Dallas Cowboys Channel, to be found on Comcast’s channel 276, will debut Sept. 8 as part of the new Digital Sports Tier, the company said. Advertising for the new channel will be split between the team and Comcast, said consultant Lee H. Berke of LHB Sports, Entertainment & Media in Dallas, who worked with the Cowboys to set up the channel.

“The Cowboys already have a pre-existing sales force,” Berke said. “So they have not only the people in place but relationships with sponsors such as Verizon and Ford.”

Comcast recently said it had reached an agreement to carry the NFL Network, the first national channel fully dedicated to professional football. The NFL Network will launch on Comcast’s Dallas-area cable systems before the start of the NFL season. The network also will be available on Digital Plus as well as the Digital Sports Tier on Comcast Digital Cable channel 275.

Last year, the Atlanta Falcons became the first NFL team to launch a cable channel, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are planning a similar venture, said Berke.

“A lot of teams across a variety of different leagues are taking advantage of creating a direct business relationship with their customers and [cutting] out the middleman,” Berke said. “Television is the final frontier. It’s not as difficult and mysterious as it used to be.”

More than 1.3 million Comcast customers will have access to the Dallas Cowboys Channel, which will be offered to cable users for no additional charge, the company said.

“We plan to launch the Dallas Cowboys Channel not only in the Dallas metropolitan area, but also on Comcast cable systems in neighboring states, including Little Rock, Ark.; Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Los Angeles,” said Ann Montgomery, regional svp at Comcast.