The NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market package has been a DirecTV mainstay since 1994. Yes, it's been around for almost 20 years. DirecTV has used Sunday Ticket to lure subscribers from cable of which I am one. I've been with DirecTV since 2001 and the major reason was NFL Sunday Ticket. Over the years, the satellite provider has been willing to pay the price to keep the Sunday afternoon games away from cable. And to keep fans in the mix, DirecTV developed the Red Zone Channel with host Andrew Siciliano, showing games when drives reached scoring potential, a feature that was so successful, NFL Network started its own version for cable with host Scott Hanson.
And while DirecTV has made mobile apps and even allowed the package to be put on gaming consoles as long as non-subscribers were willing to pay a huge fee, the satellite provider appears to be souring on the package because of rising costs. In a speech to an investor conference in Florida today, DirecTV Chief Financial Officer Pat Doyle made news by saying the company would consider sharing Sunday Ticket with cable or even dropping the package altogether if the NFL's price became too high.
Now, if Sunday Ticket were opened to cable, imagine the number of champagne corks that would be popped by Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and other major companies. They have been angry about not being able to bid for Sunday Ticket and even kept NFL Network off their systems for many years in response.
But in the past few years, DirecTV has gone from being the alternative to cable by carrying as many sports networks as possible to a company of fiscal restraint. In the early part of the 21st Century, DirecTV was the among first to pick up the Big Ten Network, MLB Network, NFL Network, the mtn. (since deceased), CSTV (now CBS Sports Network) and others. Since 2011, DirecTV has been reluctant to take on national and regional sports networks over their high subscriber fees. In 2009, DirecTV fought with Comcast over Versus (now NBC Sports Network) and pulled it for six months while NHL fans stewed. Pac-12 Network, Comcast SportsNet Houston, and Comcast SportsNet Northwest are currently not on the satellite provider over their subscriber fees and DirecTV originally said "no" to Time Warner Cable SportsNet until the first week of this NBA season over its cost.
It's hard to imagine DirecTV without NFL Sunday Ticket, but as the fees for sports continue to go up, providers are pushing back. DirecTV publicly saying it's considering axing Sunday Ticket over increased cost could be a bold negotiating tactic to get the best deal possible in the next contract.
If Sunday Ticket leaves DirecTV after 2014, it would be a major blow to the NFL (and DirecTV subscribers) and a huge shock, but the NFL at least knows that cable would be there to pick up the slack if it became available. This is a story that will be watched over the next year and could change the televised sports landscape.
[H/T Hollywood Reporter]
The real question is whether rates would go down at DTV if they did drop Sunday Ticket. I know I would drop DTV in a heartbeat if I could get Sunday Ticket on Comcast or DISH.
Directv is losing about $350 million annually with NFL Sunday Ticket. These costs are absorbed by all subscribers. I hope they drop it so I won't have to continue to subsidize the idiots who sign up for this.
heck MLB, NHL are already on roku (internet streamed). NFL will be next. ala-carte; its the future. Screw cable and sat.
@bkoo you duplicated a link from your 1st tweet on look at how untrollish we are
@bkoo so the best you can do is a piece on direct tv's nfl sunday ticket and the 1 random time you liked a call? Come on
Directv is more expensive than the rest and there is only one reason I've allowed DTV to take advantage of me since 1994, NFL Sunday Ticket..If they allow others to carry, we drop immediately!
I like my directv. I think it's definitely better than comcast. That being said, I would drop directv in a minute if I could get Sunday Ticket on comcast. I hate comcast, but I would go back. If I could get the games thru a portal like MLB, NHL and NBA have on a separate service then I would drop all tv in general.
Dropping Sunday Ticket exclusivity would signal the soon to be bankruptcy of DirecTV. They would no longer be able to compete, since they've never competed on price, only on features and channels and taking away the main schtick would cripple DirecTV.
Info for DirecTV: Exhibit 1 from several years ago: Mrs. LastingMilledgeville - The Dish Network has this really great deal Me - Do they have the Sunday Ticket? Mrs. LastingMilledgeville - No Me - Then why are we having this conversation? Exhibit 2: My phone and internet provider would love to make that bundle a threesome and add cable. Use that information as you see fit.
NFL Redzone is a perfect compromise to not having Sunday Ticket. The only way to consume football if it's not your team in this day and age.
Big Cable has wanted Sunday Ticket for so long, and it's part of why you had longtime holdouts Time Warner and Cablevision not adding NFL Network until finally last season.
@Kiwi_Incognito Hmmm, will be interesting to watch. I'm not under contract with DirecTv, tho. So I can jump ship, if need be...
@awfulannouncing Imagine if it goes to some cable company exclusively that isn't offered throughout the country. So much anger potential.
@stutzmandave Well; I don't see anybody holding a gun to your head. Just because you don't like football doesn't make others who do "idiots". The IDIOT is YOU for continuing to pay for something that you disagree with.
@DaveLinder - yes - and the internet streaming of both MLB and NHL are very good, high quality. The only thing offered by the NFL are replays of games.
Very dumb on the part of the NFL!
@JaredGebhardt recently a network PR guy asked us if we had considered changing the name. Why?
@JaredGebhardt out of last 30 articles I count more positive pieces than negative. Weird considering we "only exist to rip real reporters"
@sportsfred Want SundayTicket? Don't want DirecTV?Get a PS3 for $200 (probably close to what you pay for a month and a half or two of service) then get an internet connection in the 12Mbps+ range and subscribe to SundayTicket through PSN. There; Instead of paying $179/month for their mid-tier service plus the movie channels they rarely let you drop (plus the price of SundayTicket, $299) you'll be paying in the neighborhood of $35/month for internet and a one-time fee for SundayTicket - which is a savings of around $1,700/year.
response to @RedsArmy_John , sorry
@chrisburgess87 @awfulannouncing cable companies and telco providers will be at a feeding frenzy for the Sunday Ticket. IMO, It's a win-win!
@chrisburgess87 @awfulannouncing The NFL's too popular a league for cable operators to pass up. When and if Directv's exclusivity is gone...
@chrisburgess87 @awfulannouncing And afterwards, maybe about 11,000 people could tweet @bobpockrass to ask him about it.
@bkoo because they wanted you to do as they say as pr ppl are one to do
@bkoo deadspin does real reporting you are 100% reactionary off what others do
@ytilanigiro @sportsfred Your numbers are horribly, horribly wrong. I pay $80/month of DirecTV and Sunday Ticket was free this past year, I only had to pay $100 for Redzone and to be able to watch on my laptop or phone.
Also, when you do it on the PS3 you have to change inputs when you want to change channels to the already offered games and you can't watch on your phone or laptop.
There's some truth to what the jist of what you're saying, but your numbers are so horribly wrong that you just sound like a goddamn idiot.
@PorkSoldier let it go dude that argument was 10 hours ago
@bkoo you the same. I appreciate our ability to have q public conversation without ugly name calling
@JaredGebhardt your zeal for constructive criticism has been duly noted. We thank you for your patronage to the site and wish you well
@bkoo your inability to respond to it shows yours
@JaredGebhardt Your negotiating with terrorists reply paints a clearer picture to me of your cognitive abilities.
@bkoo well considering you had to duplicate 1 I don't know.
@JaredGebhardt I mean how many articles am I going to have to send you before you realize you don't know what you are talking about