State lawmakers are poised to take sides in the battle between the NFL and cable companies. Not unusual, politicians tend to be a meddlesome bunch, sticking their noses in economic places they shouldn’t. The real problem, of course, is that in doing so lawmakers will run roughshod over your wallet in an effort to appease wealthy team owners.
State representatives will hold a December 10 hearing at the Texas Capitol, to take public testimony over the recent dispute between the NFL Network and cable providers regarding the availability of NFL games on cable networks.
Translation: The House Regulated Industries Committee will pose for official pictures with famous people just in time for campaign flyers to be printed.
(There is recent precedent for this. No one seriously believes Texas’ $4.2 billion new debt to spend $300 million a year over a decade will find a cure for cancer. It’ll just create a brand new set of bureaucracy. But as State Sen. Steve Ogden said, commonsense was “run over by a short guy riding a bicycle“ alluding to the former boyfriend of one-time rock star Cheryl Crow, bicyclist Lance Armstrong. Just watch the upcoming campaign mail, the majority of which will focus pudgy legislators smiling broadly with a sports star that no one in Texas has ever actually seen compete.)
The NFL started their own television network a while back, but have a pesky problem it seems the market-demand isn’t quite there for it. Their solution: Force cable companies to carry the programming, and make every subscriber pay for it. Neat trick, eh? The cable companies have offered to carry the network, but only making the fans who want it pay for it.
NFL team owners will have none of that. These are the same guys who find it morally acceptable to tax you out of house and home to pay for their new stadiums, which you then cannot afford to get into. So of course they don’t mind forcing people who aren’t interested in all-NFL, all-the-time channels to pay for them. If they could make you wear their team jerseys to work, they would.
Lawmakers will hide behind a false populism, saying that they are only trying ‘protect the fans.’ Hogwash.
The market is better equipped to protect consumers of football programming than legislators ever will be. If legislators proceed with plans to meddle in this battle of the entertainment titans, you can bet you’re cable rates will go up.
All so that legislators can get cozy with linebackers in $3,000 suits.