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Sports Broadcasting Technology

DirecTV Keeps NFL Sunday Ticket Exclusive for $1.5B

October 03, 2014


On the cusp of losing one of its biggest weapons in the battle against cable television providers, DirecTV (News - Alert) announced it had managed to keep its exclusive license to its NFL Sunday Ticket offering earlier this week. Sources with inside knowledge of the talks between the satellite cable provider and the league say DirecTV will be paying $1.5 billion per year in order to keep the package exclusive.

The deal is good news for DirecTV in a number of different ways. NFL Sunday Ticket has been a rather big draw when it comes to attracting subscribers. There was also talk that AT&T (News - Alert) might have backed out of buyout talks had DirecTV been able to keep NFL Sunday Ticket. AT&T has offered up more than $48.5 billion for the satellite TV provider. AT&T apparently would have been able to pull out of the talks to purchase DirecTV if the talks to keep NFL Sunday Ticket hadn’t been successful.

Roughly two million people currently purchase NFL Sunday Ticket for around $300 a pop. The package allows them to watch all the NFL games, including those outside their local markets, giving DirecTV a leg up on the regular cable providers who offer, at most, a couple of games per week.

The current deal DirecTV had with the NFL had the satellite television provider paying the league $1 billion per year and the agreement was expected to run out at the end of this season. The price increase is one the company can apparently weather, considering the letter it sent to investors after the deal was struck. The good news for DirecTV and it customers is that it expands the rights of the firm to stream games live on mobile devices and the Internet. It will also be able to continue broadcasting the NFL Red Zone Channel and the DirecTV Fantasy Zone Channel.

The deal appears to be a win-win for the NFL and DirecTV, but a bit of a loss to those who were hoping the package might be opened up to other companies after this season.

Edited by Alisen Downey