NFL Net will kick off live game coverage next Thurs, and pres/CEO Steve Bornstein insists he’s happy with the net’s current reach even though some big players still refuse to suit up. "I don’t want to sound facetious, but we are pleased where we are in distribution," said Bornstein during a Tues conference call. Still missing are carriage deals with major MSOs such as Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Charter, with whom imminent agreements are unlikely. "I am not optimistic that something will happen before Thanksgiving Day," Bornstein said. "Right now we’re not getting a lot of traction." The net currently passes 40mln homes, and not 1 sponsorship pact with brands such as Nissan and Coors is in jeopardy because of lagging carriage, NFL brass said. "This isn’t about 8 games for us," said Bornstein. "We are building a platform that will be responsive to fans." While the net tries to get everyone focused on the programming, litigation and hard-line tactics continue to be the draw the most attention. The NFL has filed a lawsuit in NY against Comcast over attempts to put it on a sports tier. The suit, filed Oct 2, is under seal, so we can’t read the contents. NFL says the suit is over plans to move the network to a sports tier next year. CableFAX and other publications have reported that Comcast plans to move the channel to a tier in Jan, though the MSO has made no public statement (Cfax, 9/19). Comcast said it was preparing to launch NFL Net on a digital sports tier in the recently acquired Time Warner and Adelphia markets that don’t already carry the channel, but the suit has put those plans on hold. "Unfortunately, the NFL has filed a lawsuit and Comcast cannot move ahead until the litigation is resolved. Comcast believes it has the right to carry the NFL Network on a sports tier and will vigorously defend its position," the MSO said.