It’s highly unlikely that AT&T would publicize a purchase of DirecTV that hinges on DirecTV renewing the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket unless DirecTV had a pretty good idea that the rights will be renewed.
According to the Wall Street Journal (via SportsBusiness Daily), they will be. Soon.
According to Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, the negotiations have lagged over the issue of expanded digital rights. The combined companies presumably will want to extend NFL Sunday Ticket to AT&T’s U-Verse package.
As explained by the Wall Street Journal, AT&T has been trying to expand its relationship with the NFL. Last year, the company purchased the naming rights to the billion-dollar stadium where the Cowboys play. Now, AT&T will be spending much more than $1 billion per year to extend — and possibly to enhance — the NFL Sunday Ticket arrangement.
That said, the deal won’t be done until it’s done. If someone else wants to take away the package that DirecTV has owned for two decades, the clock is ticking.