Published on March 23rd, 2019 | by Kirk Hiner0
NFL wants a streaming option for Sunday Ticket
One of the best things about being a fan of American football is NFL Sunday Ticket. The service allows out-of-market fans like myself—a Seahawks fan wedged somewhere in the Browns-Bengals-Steelers Triangle—to watch my team’s games each week.
Or, at least it would if I had DirecTV, which I no longer do. The Sunday Ticket package is exclusive to AT&T’s DirecTV, but that exclusivity may come to an end sooner than anticipated, according to a recent article at Bloomberg.
The NFL and DirecTV are still on good terms, but that’s not stopping the league from considering splitting up the rights to make games available to those who don’t watch at home, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday in an interview.
“We’re having great discussions with DirecTV and AT&T,” Goodell said. “We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery.”
The biggest restriction with Sunday Ticket DirecTV, of course, is that you need the fixed hardware to access it. If you want to watch a game on a bus, in a hotel, or anywhere outside of the location where you’ve got your DirecTV subscription, it can’t be done. Considering so many people now watch games on their mobile devices, the NFL is certainly losing those customers who can’t spend Sunday afternoons in their living room.
The question, however, is what service(s) would get Sunday Ticket when this comes to pass. The obvious option would be DirecTV Now, which would certainly help bring back all of the customers AT&T is losing with their recent DirecTV Now price hike and channel cuts.
On the other hand, Bloomberg also theorizes the NFL could split the Sunday Ticket rights between a conventional TV partner like DirecTV and an online service such as Amazon.
The timing is also up in the air, as the NFL’s current exclusivity deal with DirecTV carries through 2022 season. However, there is an “early out” option that the NFL can exercise in 2020. Either way, the NFL Sunday Ticket will still only be available on DirecTV for the 2019 NFL season.