June can be a quiet time for NFL news, but something rather significant happened 20 years ago on the first day of the sixth month of the year.
On June 1, 1994, the NFL began its “NFL Sunday Ticket” satellite-TV service. The package, offered through DirecTV, forever changed how some fans watched the league. Suddenly, fans could more easily follow teams outside of their home market, whether at home or at bars or restaurants that offered the package. Eventually, the service became offered via broadband, too.
However, as NFL Sunday Ticket turns 20, the matter of whether DirecTV will renew its agreement with the league to offer the package for 2014 and beyond remains unsettled, though SportsBusiness Daily has reported a deal is expected to be struck. There is also the issue of whether the distribution of NFL Sunday Ticket will eventually widen, what with AT&T striking a deal to acquire DirecTV in May.
No matter the future of NFL Sunday Ticket, this much is certain: fans will forever have the opportunity to buy the right to view out-of-market games. It will cost them, whether it’s home viewing or whether it’s the cost of pizza and beer to watch a game at a pub. But they will have that opportunity, for the technology to do it is in place, and the demand for the service is strong.