NFL Network Controversy Leaves Many Broncos Fans Frustrated

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Thursday night's game between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans was only broadcast on the NFL Network. Only a handful of fans in the Western Slope have access to the channel, leaving many frustrated.

A billboard off of Highway 6 & 50 says "Grand Junction Is Broncos Country." For die hard fans like Larry Vezakis, who don't have the NFL Network, Grand Junction feels like anything but.

"You miss out on the games," said Vezakis. "They're not having a really great season, but still, a fan would like to see the game. It leaves a lot of the people out."

Residents with Dish Network or Direct TV are in luck because NFL Network is a standard channel. Bresnan also offers the NFL network -- but only to those who pay $55.99 a month for digital cable, and an additional $2.95 a month for the sports package.

"There's a lot of fans out there and the cable people and the NFL Network can come to an agreement somwhere," said Vezakis.

It may be awhile, however, before Bresnan and the NFL Network come to an agreement to include the channel with basic services.

Officials from Bresnan tell 11 News, the reason NFL Network is not part of its basic cable is because the network fees are too high for just eight regular season games. They say if they were to include the channel, customer's bills would go up. They also feel that if the NFL wanted to appeal to the largest number of people, they should never have removed the games from the broadcast networks.

11 News contacted the NFL Network to find out what they had to say. Officials from the channel see things differently. They say they are currently involved in a lawsuit with Comcast, the company that Bresnan gets most of its programming from. The NFL Network wants Comcast to include them in their standard programming, saying fans shouldn't have to pay extra to watch them.

Officials say it's a matter of the cable companies putting business interests ahead of what the customers want. They say while Comcast won't give customers access to their extremely popular programming, they force customers to take the Golf Channel and Versus, two networks owned by Comcast. They pointed out that 245 other providers across the country do carry NFL Network on basic cable.

Until these issues are sorted out, some local fans say they are willing to pay the price.

"I think it costs a little more, but I think it's well worth it," said Donald Lusty, who has digital cable.

For those who aren't as willing, bars and restaurants may be the only option for fans to watch their favorite NFL teams, like the Broncos, on Thursday nights.

"Usually it's only bars that are going to air this," said Richard Dishong, a worker at the Rockslide Brewery. "A lot of fans are really happy that they can come here and see the game."


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