NFL Preps 3-Way Simulcast

NEW YORK The NFL has worked out a deal with CBS and NBC to nationally simulcast the NFL Network’s Saturday night, Dec. 29 telecast of the undefeated New England Patriots vs. New York Giants game.

This marks the first three-network simulcast of a live NFL game in the history of the league and the first national simulcast of any kind of an NFL game since Super Bowl I in 1967 when CBS and NBC both televised the first meeting of the American Football League and National Football League champions.

All of the telecasts will air the same commercials being televised on the NFL Network. Prior to this agreement, the NFL Network had been selling its remaining commercial inventory in the game for north of $200,000 per 30-second spot, more than double its regular rate, because of the added broadcast station exposure in the Boston and New York markets.

Advertisers that bought in at that rate, or at the network’s regular lower rate, will now get a windfall of over-delivery of viewers. The local stations carrying the game will get a few commercial units to sell during the game.

The NFL Network is a national cable network, but it does not have carriage on cable systems Time Warner and Cablevision, and is carried on some Comcast systems on a special sports tier. Thus, a good portion of the country would not have seen the Patriots try to make professional football history (since the expanded schedule) by becoming the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated in the regular season. That year, the Dolphins went 14-0.

Under NFL rules, the game on the NFL Network, just like the Monday Night Football games on ESPN, must be carried on broadcast networks only in the local markets of the two teams playing. So the Patriots-Giants game will continue to be shown on WWOR-TV in New York, the MyNetworkTV local station; on WCVB, the ABC affiliate in Boston; and on WMUR, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Those stations will also carry the NFL Network feed.