|Launched||September 13, 2009|
|Owned by||National Football League|
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV sets)
|Slogan||"Every touchdown from every game"|
|Headquarters||Culver City, California|
|Sister channel(s)||NFL Network|
(requires Sunday Ticket subscription)
NFL RedZone from NFL Network is a "special" game-day exclusive channel owned and operated by NFL Network since 2009. It broadcasts on Sundays during the NFL regular season from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific). RedZone provides "whip around" simulcast coverage of all Sunday afternoon games airing in-progress on CBS and Fox.
RedZone is based out of the NFL Network studios and is hosted by Scott Hanson, and airs commercial-free. The channel prides itself on showing "every touchdown from every game," and is closely linked to Fantasy Football, reporting superlatives and tracking various statistical accomplishments throughout the afternoon. RedZone monitors coverage of the traditional Sunday afternoon 1:00 p.m. "early" games and 4:05/4:25 p.m. "late" games.
RedZone is offered by numerous cable providers, Dish Network, and Verizon Wireless smartphones, but specifically is not available on DirecTV, which offers its own version (Red Zone Channel hosted by Andrew Siciliano) as part of NFL Sunday Ticket.
The channel is similar in format and style to ESPN Goal Line, which debuted one year later.
On game day, RedZone channel signs-on at 11:30 a.m. eastern with the 90-minute pregame show NFL Fantasy Live. The talk show primarily focuses on fantasy football, and late-breaking news, and is hosted by James Koh, Michael Fabiano, Adam Rank, and Akbar Gbajabiamila. Unlike the game coverage, commercials are inserted during the pregame show.
A few minutes prior to 1:00 p.m., the pre-game show concludes, and a countdown clock counts down the minutes and seconds until the start of the game coverage.
Whip around coverage
At 1:00 p.m. (Eastern) the RedZone program begins, and immediately dives into live look-ins across the league. Host Scott Hanson gives a brief introduction of the day, highlighting key developing stories, as teams are typically already lining up for opening kickoff. Coverage of the opening kickoffs and a cursory look at early drives that are being established are the initial focus. Coverage is normally shown in full-screen, with one particular game as the primary focus for the moment. Coverage sometimes switches to split-screen, with two, three, four ("quad-box"), or as many as eight ("Octo-box") game feeds being shown simultaneously. Producers in the studio monitor all game feeds in-progress, and decide which game to feature at any given moment. NFL television rules are exempted for RedZone, and live look-ins of games that are subject to blackout are still allowed to be aired in all markets.
Whenever a team enters the red zone, the coverage will switch to a full-screen live look-in of that game's television broadcast. It will attempt to cover a potential scoring result (touchdown or field goal). Meanwhile, the other games continue to be monitored, in case the need arises to switch to another feed at short notice. Field goal attempts from outside the red zone are sometimes shown, either live or in replay, if they pose significance to the outcome of the respective game.
As the games enter halftime, the coverage shifts over to games still finishing up the second quarter, even if there are no teams in the red zone. Some noncompetitive games that would otherwise not be looked at may take the attention for a few minutes, in order to fill the broadcast with as much live football coverage as possible. As soon as better games start returning for the third quarter, second half kickoffs typically take a priority.
If there are no teams in the red zone at a given moment, the focus may shift to a team on a strong offensive drive, or an otherwise important game of the day. During the latter portion of the season, extra sidebar attention may be given to teams fighting for playoff berths, and the respective status thereof. The "whip around" coverage also is used to show quick replays of major plays such as turnovers, deep pass completions, very long runs from scrimmage, kickoff/punt return touchdowns, and other potentially interesting or important key plays. The "Game Rewind" feature is sometimes used to replay a significant play that resulted a particular team entering the red zone.
It is not unusual for RedZone to switch between two or more games in quick succession, even between individual plays. As the 1 p.m. "early" games begin to conclude, RedZone seamlessly leads into coverage of the 4:05/4:25 p.m. "late" games. When the "early" games are in the fourth quarter, attention begins to focus on one-possession games (games within 8 points). Likewise, early games that go into overtime are usually prioritized, but neither at the expense of missing touchdowns in other games that just started.
As the 4 p.m. "late" games begin to arrive at their conclusions, coverage will likewise narrow down to the remaining games still ongoing. At which time there is only one game left being played, coverage will switch to full-screen and see out its conclusion, irrespective of its competitiveness.
Periodically throughout the afternoon, producers keep track of and update viewers on the status of fantasy football statistics, and/or other statistical superlatives. The channel's priority, however, is to show every touchdown scored in every game throughout the afternoon. During the entire day, RedZone features a ticker at the bottom of the screen, updating scores and stats throughout the league. The ticker is situated in such a way that it is superimposed over the respective tickers of CBS and FOX.
RedZone operates as a commercial-free service; as such, whenever a game taking primary focus goes to a broadcaster-designated commercial break or other stoppage (such as timeout, instant replay challenge or an injury timeout), the feed will immediately switch to the next most-interesting game in-progress at the moment. Despite the network's commercial-free commitment, commercials are not completely avoided as sometimes the network coverage may take a break faster than expected, and broadcast network promotions of their programming will be shown as a natural part of the coverage.
If all games being held at a given moment are on a commercial break or in halftime, coverage will revert to the studio for brief commentary, replays, or statistical analysis by Scott Hanson. In the "late" timeslot (when there are fewer games to choose from), highlight packages of selected "early" games may be shown during down times.
Touchdown montage & sign-off
The network's broadcast day ends when the final Sunday afternoon game concludes, or at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern), whichever comes first. At the conclusion of the coverage, an edited montage of every touchdown scored throughout the afternoon is aired. Due to contractual obligations, RedZone must sign-off no later than 8:00 p.m., even if late afternoon games are still in progress. If the RedZone signs-off with inadequate time for the touchdown montage (which can vary from 5–10 minutes in duration), it will be posted online instead.
In some cases, when games are running close to the 8 p.m. deadline, the touchdown montage has been shown in a split-screen format. The montage is shown in a prominent square with audio, while the game still being played is shown in a lesser square in the corner of the screen without audio. This is done particularly when the game still being played is a nationally-televised game - a situation in which most viewers in most markets across the country (per NFL television rules) could simply switch to CBS or FOX to watch the game to its conclusion.
After the broadcast day ends (≈ 8:00 p.m.) RedZone remains dark until the following Sunday. During the week, as well as during playoffs and off-season, a generic title card advertisement is shown, accompanied by music from NFL Films. However, cable providers may overlay their own tie-in title card. Providers are disallowed from using the channel space for other purposes during its off-time.
While the RedZone channel is only utilized for Sunday afternoon games, in the unique instance in which Christmas falls on a Sunday (and the full slate of Week 16 afternoon games is switched to Saturday), the RedZone is utilized for that Saturday afternoon schedule.
RedZone is not on-air during Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, and any stand-alone Saturday night games, nor for NFL International Series games which are scheduled in an early Sunday morning timeslot. It also does not cover Thanksgiving games or postseason games.
During the offseason break between the 2015 and 2016 NFL seasons, NFL Network re-ran each week's RedZone presentation as-is. During seventeen selected Sunday afternoons in the spring and early summer of 2016, all 17 weeks of the 2015 NFL season as seen on RedZone were re-aired, edited for length and with commercials inserted.
Through 2013, during select nights of the preseason, special "whip around" coverage aired on the primary NFL Network. It followed the same style as RedZone and utilized the same production team and host.
Starting in 2014, preseason "whip around" coverage moved to the RedZone channel itself. On four selected nights in August RedZone aired as part of a free preview of the service for all providers. Week 1 (Friday), weeks 2-3 (Saturday), and week 4 (Thursday) of the preseason featured the familiar "whip around" coverage. The broadcast utilized national and local team coverage feeds, as most preseason games are carried through regional sports networks or 'state/team networks' made up of local broadcast stations. Coverage started at 7:00 p.m. ET
In 2015, RedZone will air a free preview during the preseason for five selected nights, and during Week 1 of the regular season.
In 2016, NFL RedZone will air a free preview on 4 selected nights during the preseason starting August 11 and during Week 1 of the regular season.
The RedZone Channel is available on most providers carrying the NFL Network, and is presented in both standard and high definition; availability of the channel depends on the service tier. Some carriers might carry NFL Network available on their main digital tier, while RedZone might be relegated to a digital sports tier at an additional cost.
In the United Kingdom, NFL RedZone is available as a Red Button option to Sky Digital and Virgin Media subscribers. Since 2014, NFL RedZone has aired in Australia on ESPN Australia. ESPN Latin America began to air NFL RedZone in 2016.
RedZone has generally received favorable to positive reviews, and its product has been referred to as a form of new media. One source of criticism stems from RedZone potentially drawing viewers away from the traditional broadcasts on CBS and Fox, and likewise devaluing the commercial values for advertisers.
Other minor complaints deal with viewers not seeing equal coverage of all games across the league, the inability to see outstanding defensive team performances (outside of defensive scores), and emphasis on individual players instead of teams. Games in the "early" time slot that become blowouts are sometimes completely ignored (except for very brief replays of touchdowns to maintain the promise of showing "every touchdown from every game.") Likewise a scoreless, or very low scoring game, will not garner much attention either. Furthermore, many fans still prefer to watch complete games. Other complaints include games without playoff implications being nearly pushed off the channel in the last weeks of the season, with only cursory glances at highlights and scores for those match-ups.
The NFL RedZone channel is similar in format and style to ESPN Goal Line, which airs live look-ins of college football games.
DirecTV Red Zone Channel
The NFL RedZone channel should not be confused with the nearly identical Red Zone Channel, a service included as part of DirecTV's out-of-market sports package NFL Sunday Ticket, and hosted by Andrew Siciliano. The two red zone channels operate independently of each other but have similar names, identical formats, cover the same games, and will often show the same game live look-ins at the same time.
The Sunday Drive
Apart from the RedZone channel, a similar service is aired parallel on Sirius XM NFL Radio. During the Sunday afternoon games, The Sunday Drive monitors all games in progress across the league. Any time a team enters the red zone, they will cut-in to the team's live local radio broadcast to cover potential scoring action. Until 2014, this audio was also carried on NFL Network during Sunday afternoon games, overlaid with textual scores and stats to avert any form of competition with the league's broadcast partners.
- Brown, Rembert (November 15, 2012). "A Trip Inside the RedZone". Grantland. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- The split-screen format for the Touchdown Montage was used on September 21, 2014; at the time in which the Denver at Seattle game went into overtime. The network instructed viewers to switch to CBS if they wanted to see the game out to its conclusion, though it concluded just a minute before off-air time and was taken to full-screen to conclude the day's schedule.
- Dish Joins Comcast In NFL RedZone - Both Distributors Will Kick Off Scoring Ser2009
- Updated: Verizon FiOS Fires Up NFL RedZone Deal - Telco Positions Service As Stand-Alone Network Available On A Full-Season Basis Multichannel News September 10, 2009
- AT&T Adds NFL RedZone To Lineup - Telco Will Position Scoring Service On Its HD Premium Tier Multichannel News September 11, 2009
- Blue Ridge Enters NFL RedZone - Operator Adds 'Scoring Channel To HD Plus Package Multichannel News September 10, 2009
- NFL RedZone on DISH Network – Brings You Every NFL Touchdown American DISH Blog July 30, 2010
- Cox Re-Ups With NFL Network, Adds RedZone Multichannel News August 24, 2010
- Pierik, Jon (18 September 2014). "Channels kick for NFL touchdown on Australian TV". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "AUSTRALIAN NFL TV GUIDE & GAME PASS FAQ". US Sports Down Under. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Nueva temporada de la NFL en ESPN - ESPN Media Zone Latinoamérica, 6 September 2016
- "Red Meat for N.F.L. Fans: Football Channel Sees All". The New York Times. September 20, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Best, Neil (December 12, 2014). "Touchdown frenzy enhanced by NFL RedZone channel". Newsday. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Van Riper, Tom (September 9, 2013). "Is 'Red Zone' Hurting NFL's Network Ratings?". Forbes. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Strauss, Chris (October 24, 2013). "Follow the amazing: A behind-the-curtain look at the Red Zone Channel". USA Today. Retrieved September 3, 2014.