"I would say that most sports fans probably already have the sports and information tier,” Martin said. "There's so many other sports networks and programming in that tier that it fits most sports fans' niche really well.”
The Cowboys' Dec. 22 game against Carolina will also be broadcast on the NFL Network. As of Sept. 1, 2006, however, NFL Network is available to 70 million U.S. households, but only 41 million subscribe to a service that includes the network.
That's far less than half of the 112 million television households in the U.S.
Or as comedian and FOX NFL Sunday contributor Frank Caliendo put it last week, "There's more homes that have termites than have the NFL Network.”
That leaves football fans having to scramble to a friend's home or to a local bar.
Tully Slagle, general manager at BG Bolton's sports bar on South Broadway in Edmond, said his location usually receives 30 to 40 percent more traffic when a game is not being broadcast on network television or cable. BG Bolton's is equipped with 44 televisions and has NFL Network as well as NFL Sunday Ticket, a package that receives every NFL game.
"We actually have a big Denver (Broncos) following here,” said Slagle. "But if their game is on network television we don't see any of them. If it's only on Sunday Ticket, we'll get 20 to 30 people just for that game.”
Ken Henderson, general manager of Buffalo Wild Wings on Santa Fe in Edmond, echoed Slagle. Henderson's location is also equipped with NFL Network and Sunday Ticket and has eight big screens and roughly 30 smaller sets.
"It's big business for us,” Henderson said. "Anytime there is a big NFL or big college game that's played on pay-per-view or anything other than regular TV or regular cable it's a big day for us.”