DirecTV could pull plug on NFL Sunday Ticket

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Like many of you, I first became aware of DirecTV in 1994, when the company provided football fans the opportunity, for the first time ever, to watch every NFL game.  For 18-plus years since then, DirecTV has had the exclusive ability to make every game available.

That could soon be ending.

DirecTV CFO Pat Doyle said at a Wednesday investors conference that, if the price goes up too high when the current NFL Sunday Ticket deal expires after the 2014 season, DirecTV would consider “striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package,” writes the Hollywood Reporter, via SportsBusiness Daily.

The fact that there’s no new deal only two seasons away from expiration of the current contract isn’t a good sign, given that the NFL usually extends these things years in advance.  Complicating matters is the fact that the popularity of the RedZone channel, now available via cable, has made the Sunday Ticket package less important to many fans.  Also, the availability of every game on NFL Rewind after the fact reduces the attractiveness of features that previously were exclusive to DirecTV.

Thus, with the money going up and the exclusivity being carved away, it’s no surprise that DirecTV is considering passing on the package.  The question becomes whether the ability to watch all games would instead be sold to a cable provider — or to multiple cable providers.

Regardless of how it turns out, the fact that there’s no deal less than two years away from the expiration of the current one suggests that change is coming for the way fans purchase the ability to watch any/all Sunday afternoon games.

89 responses to “DirecTV could pull plug on NFL Sunday Ticket

  1. All I know is up here in Canada we can get it with most standard cable packages (if you wanna pay for Sunday Ticket of course), so as long as that doesn’t change Canadian NFL fans are happy.

  2. Man, one of the best things about Football may be taken away.

    The referee lockout, the NFL lockout, this, etc is all about money, and Goodell still fails to recognize that. I miss Pete Rozelle.

  3. If this happens… DirectTV will become one with the dinosaurs. I have the Sunday ticket, however… the rest of DirectTV service is terrible, customer service is horrible, and if it rains… forget about a signal.

  4. Noooo 🙁
    I like going to the sportsbar and kicking back and watching all of the games at once.


  5. Hopefully multiple cable/satellite outlets will be given the opportunity to carry the Sunday Ticket. That might help the price drop some.

    Not sure who’s to blame for the high price, but I’ve grown tired of DirecTV constantly offering sweetheart deals to new subscribers while charging long-standing subscribers outrageous rates.

    Last year we were told the price of the Sunday ticket was dropping to $200 for the year. Well, I got charged the long-standign $300 rate, because apparently the $200 rate was (once again) for new subscribers.

    Competition would bring down the price (assuming the NFL isn’t trying to gouge the carriers) and allow the Sunday Ticket to survive.

  6. My contract with Directv is up in September… thanks for the heads up. I won’t do anything with them that would cause me to renew it until this is settled. I only have Directv because I live in San Diego and need to watch the Bears each Sunday. If they eliminate the package I will no longer be a customer of theirs.

  7. When I had the NFL Ticket it was basically to watch my favorite team “out-of-market.” I rarely watched the other games, and often, if I did, they were the nationally broadcast games anyway (which I could get with my local channels). When it was $99 a season, that was not really an issue for me; but then it kept getting more expensive and I was forced to cancel it. It wasn’t a value anymore.

  8. The fact that they gave it to new subscribers free pissed me off! I’ve been paying for it (and Direct TV) since 1997 and a new comer gets it for free

  9. I don’t think the NFL has any interest in continuing the exclusive deal with Directv. They know the landscape has changed, and the time has come where it will be more profitable to offer the sunday ticket to all major providers such as Time Warner/Comcast, not just Directv. All the NFL worries about is the bottom line, which this time, will be good for the fans as most of them don’t have directv.

  10. If only the exclusive deal with EA Sports would end too. Long live 2K football!

  11. Directv will do whatever it takes to secure that deal. It is the main reason I have Directv. I know people who hate Dish Network and I had Comcast for a while (they were horrible). I’m sure the others will try to bid it up just to make it more expensive. If in the remote chance Directv doesn’t renew, I hope I can get it on my PlayStation 3 as a back up plan.

  12. No need for it. Red zone channel and the internet has eliminated the need for the DirecTV hustle. Plus it’s impossible to watch.every game any way. They should charge 75 and break it down by team.

  13. The only reason I have DIRECTV is because they’re the only company that carries Sunday Ticket. If they lose it, I will be changing providers.

  14. this would be great news. use to have directtv, they hold people hostage because they have exclusive rights. it should be offered to more than one tv service, just like MLB,The NBAand NHL I guess directtv is losing too may customers like myself who refuse to pay their highway robbery prices

  15. Longtime DirecTV customer. Made the switch to FIOS after this season because Sunday ticket is not $200 better than Red Zone. DirecTV knows it isn’t either. Sounds like Sunday Ticket will be available on all cable/satellite in 2015. This is great news.

  16. The fact that they gave it away for free to new subscribers made everyone mad, and caused them to reduce the price to the angry people to keep them subscribed to it…they probably arent making enough money off it anymore to warrant spending enough to secure an exclusive contract anymore.

  17. A huge part of the popularity of the NFL is the fact that you can follow your team out of market with the Sunday Ticket. And a huge part of the popularity of DTV is the fact that they offer Sunday Ticket. If either the NFL or DTV screw this up it would be incredibly stupid.

  18. If would be great if I could get it through cable. The ps3 version with is $350 bucks for some reason, quality is really lacking.

  19. I had DirecTV for several years mainly for the Sunday Ticket, but thanks to the likes of the RedZone Channel and the NFL Network re-airing big games from the previous weekend – like the article said – the Sunday Ticket is quickly becoming antiquated.

    I have to assume that the Sunday Ticket will have to continue in some form because of bars across the country carrying the package to show all the games every week during the NFL season. There are cities filled with transplanted fans who want to watch their teams out of market, so bars have to be able to broadcast all the games every week no matter what. I just wonder how they’ll be impacted.

  20. Apple TV, please get the NFL Ticket and then buhbye Directv for me! Charging me a $6.00 monthly “lease” fee PER the 5 receivers that I purchased from Best Buy, not leased from Directv, is BS! Also, they charge extra for HD channels is ridiculous. $150/mo for television is a scam when you consider we only watch maybe 10 channels, the rest are garbage channels and bogus fees!

  21. I’ve been a DirecTV subscriber since 1998, only for the Sunday Ticket. I’ve got a bill that averages around $250 per month. Their customer service is absolutely abysmal; it makes the airlines look both proactive and good. If they lose the NFL ticket, I’ll gladly kick them to the curb.

  22. The short cuts are a very cool way to scout an upcoming opponent, but Sunday Ticket is only necessary if you live out of market for your team.

  23. Seriously? Comparing the RedZone channel and Sunday Ticket? I pay for the Sunday Ticket so I can watch every play of the game that I choose.

  24. The red zone channel as a stand alone option on cable has hurt the package immensely. I have direct tv and if could I would only get the redzone channel. For fantasy football fanatics it’s all you need

  25. When this happens…. Buh-bye, DirecTV. The only reason I put up with DirecTV is so that, sitting here in Florida, I can watch my Vikings break my heart in real time every season.

  26. I think the NFL is the one that is thinking Sunday Ticket can be revamped and they just aren’t sharing their plans with Direct TV.

    I could easily see a pay per view type arrangement and other alternatives that would increase the total revenue. Direct TV is just a distribution partner and if they don’t want it, the cable companies will step into the void.

  27. seanje says: Mar 6, 2013 4:46 PM

    “Oh, what I would give for this to be available via a broadband package, sans-cable operator affiliation.”

    Echo this. I don’t have cable tv but I would gladly pay for NFL Ticket via broadband. Why doesn’t the NFL just sell it direct.

  28. Really redzone ? Sorry I’m a actual football fan that likes more than 20 yards of a game , something has to be done , either every team creates it’s own “network” and you buy a package to watch all 16 games or directv will step up to the plate and get a deal done , ill pay a extra 100$ to watch pittsburgh every Sunday , if directv doesn’t get it done someone will , don’t be surprised if you see a NFL network Sunday package come soon , the NFL is to much of a huge commodity to lose .

  29. I used to pay for Sunday Ticket but only really used it for out of market Bears games. I found that Bears games are on about 50% as a national game so dropped the ticket and I found a good bar to watch the rest. But if I had the option to stay home I’d probably pay up to $20 PPV those games. Seems like a simple solution for every other fan and their team as well.

  30. Wish DirecTV would offer NFL RedZone as a separate package like other Cable cos. do. You have to buy the whole Sunday Ticket to get it. What a waste of money. I don’t buy the Sunday Ticket because of the price. It isn’t worth it. I just suffer with what CBS and FOX want me to watch is mostly their crappy games with crappier announcers who can’t talk and have no distinctive voice. The NFL needs to be 1000 per cent more fan, TV friendly.

  31. what i would like to see is them offer just a team channel. That way you could pick what team you wanted to watch and you would get all their games for a reasonable price. I dont like the current format because i could actually care less about the other 31 teams. and i really dont like paying through the nose for those other 31 teams.

  32. If you’re only a casual fan or only interested in following your fantasy players, I could see how the Red Zone channel would be good enough.

    But if you’re a die-hard fan of an out of market team, or a hardcore football fan who likes to watch the best games then the Sunday Ticket is the only way to go.

    I, like many others, got DirecTV just because of the Sunday Ticket. I’m happy with the packages overall, but I’d have no real reason to stick with them if the Ticket goes and could just as easily go back to cable if a better priced deal was offered.

  33. redzone is overated. why would you just want to watch parts of a game then switch to another game over and over. if you care about football (not just fantasy) then redzone doesnt compare to Sunday ticket.

  34. I also have been a paying DTV for Sunday Ticket since 1999. Red Zone is great because no commercials but with the thursday game the sunday night game the monday game . I do not think its worth the $300.00 they charge anymore. $200.00 for Sunday Ticket and another $100.00 for red zone just not worth it so bye bye DTV.

  35. I am pretty sure of two things:

    1 – most Directv subscribers like me would dump it without Sunday Ticket in a second;
    2 – Most are like me that they love Red Zone Channel and go right to it as soon as their team’s game is over. (I live in New Mexico, but born and raised South Philly guy and Eagles fan). As a result, we’ll keep Sunday Ticket no matter what, because Red Zone Channel can’t replace guaranteeing I see every Eagles’ game.

    And here’s something to consider: If they only go to one Red Zone Channel, who does it, Andrew Siciliano or Scott Hansen? I vote Siciliano.

  36. They should just let you buy the games you wanna see on pay-per view. With that being said, you can find a good quality live stream for any game free on the internet now.

  37. Red Zone is a good option if you’re more of a fantasy football fan than an NFL fan or fan of an out of market team.

    I will drop DirecTV if they give up rights to the Sunday Ticket and go with the cheapest carrier of it. Unless it Comcast, in which case ill go with the 2nd cheapest carrier.

  38. Put it on cable, make it a PPV deal, and be done with it. There are far too many people who cant use DirectTV because of location or building rules(apartment, condo, etc..). It’s ridiculous that this hasn’t yet happened, but I’m glad that the possibility may soon exist. I’d certainly pay for it.

  39. I will take rewind for the rest of my life. I dont even need live games. for the time I save watching a game on rewind I will never go back to live tv.

  40. Red Zone is not a replacement for Sunday ticket if you are a out of state fan for sure.

    But what is cool about Red Zone is when there are only 2 or 3 games that start at 4 pm you get almost full coverage of the games because Red Zone does not show any commercials ever, which is awesome.

  41. Had DirecTV for years only for Sunday Ticket. Got tired of them raising prices, so I dropped it. Not only on my original subscription prices, but I couldn’t justify spending $300+ for Sunday ticket. I only want it so I can see my team play. I hope an exclusive extension isn’t signed and the NFL does what is right and offers it to all providers. They’ll make more money and they’ll have more happy fans.

  42. I am astounded at the number of people who are pissed off because the newcomers get a sweetheart deal on the NFL Ticket. All you have to do is call at the end of your contract and threaten to cancel your service. They will give you any and all sweetheart deals on movie channels and the NFL Ticket.

  43. I purchased the Sunday ticket from my ps3 last year….so there’s always that way to get it

  44. While I’m tired of getting pimped for the Sunday Ticket package, I would still stay with DirecTV if the package was available to more cable providers and the price went down.

    I actually think the picture quality on Directv kind of blows Comcast and others out of the water. The only times I have reception issues if there’s some intense cloud cover that makes it look like it’s midnight outside, when in reality it’s only 3 in the afternoon in the summer.

    Their regular package pricing is the same as anywhere else too.

  45. For the two dozen or so souls that realistically watch more then 6 games on a Sunday afternoon the price is well worth it but for the rest of us that don’t $200-300 is simply too much money.

  46. 1. Make the Sunday Ticket Package available via broadband.

    2. Make an app for it for SmartTVs and tablets/iPads.

    3. Break it down into Division Packages.

    4. Charge just $99 for division packages.

    Watch the Sunday Ticket explode.

  47. I’m a real football fan and have had the Sunday Ticket since 1997. I have 9 TV’s in my basement with 6 Direct TV recievers and two cable boxes for the two local teams. I have been watching EVERY NFL game this way since 1997 every weekend. No matter who carries the Sunday Ticket in two years I will pay to watch each game…..

  48. I’d like to see Sunday Ticket become an iTunes subscription option, to watch games on Apple TV or iDevices.

  49. If you think you are watching the Red Zone Channel on Comcast or Time Warner cable you are sadly mistaken. Their version of RZ is a sad clone of the original version on DirecTV. You’ve got to have Andrew Siciliano or it’s just not the same.

    Surprised to hear about the customer service issues with DirecTV, having had Comcast and other providers in the past, I’ve always found DirecTV to offer far better service. Unlike Comcast they’ve never kept me on hold for four plus hours.

  50. Direct TV was NOT the first system to have NFL Sunday Ticket. It started on the big C band dishes. Direct TV got it in the second half of the next season, only offering 8 games, and eventually got exclusive rights. Made the big dish useless. Just getten the facts straight!

  51. Just another slap in the face to the fans ,that the NFL says they care about. It is bad enough what you have to pay to get the ticket but now the greed of a non paying tax NFL to get more money. To bad we don’t get the product we use to see on the field, with all the fines and suspensions players now care more about the fantasy league than their division wins. I love the game but things are crumpling around the NFL.

  52. To those complaining about the cost of Sunday Ticket…you need to call right before the season. I’ve had Sunday Ticket since 1995 and haven’t paid full price in probably 6 years. Just threaten to cancel > get retention > get killer deal (sometimes for free with all the credits) > be happy…

  53. Agreed @sportsinhd

    Listen I’ve had DirecTV for years and anyone saying their customer service is lacking is quite insane.

    Every year I call them and they give me the entire full-version Sunday Ticket with all of the options for $150 if I pay it all at once.

    Every three months I call and get Showtime for free for three months, sometimes I have to get HBO too but it’s always a great deal.

    Anytime I call looking for ways to lower my bill they work with me and always offer me credits equalling $50-$100.

    They move my system when I move for free.

    When i tell them a rented movie sucks they refund it.

    The HD pic is GREAT.

    I can control my receivers from my iPad and watch TV on it…

    They always give me free receiver upgrades. I paid $200 for the first HD DVR and have received three more for one in each room for no charge.

    And 20 minutes ago they agreed to send me the new Genie for free ($49 to install, billed to my account) so with my three DVRs I can record 11 things at one time. Seriously.

    And the free 3D programming is great. The On Demand is awesome. HBO on Demand has every episode of every show they ever made (almost).

    Name one other provider that does that! DirecTV does and they do it knowing that they are the only ones to have Sunday Ticket and that I would never leave anyway no matter how bad the service because of it!

    DIRECTV for LIFE (unless I could no longer pay to watch the Dolphins stink.

  54. DirectTV better watch what they are doing or they will lose the last best thing that has ever happened to them, I might be glad to get rid of DirectTV! They have been manipulating the market for years, they better fathom the idea how many customers will dump their ass if they don’t renegotiate their deal!

  55. And $20 per game? That’s $320 for an entire season without any other games?

    Fantasy Football is the main driver behind the Ticket’s popularity. Yeah I get to watch my team but I get to watch my fantasy players too!

  56. Let’s be clear, the NFL is the only one doing the gouging. D* makes zip on that package and in fact it’s probably a loss leader for them, which allows them to build their subscriber base. Problem is, NFLST is becoming less valuable as a whole because of what the NFL has done with it’s programming. Cherry picking Sunday night games, then adding Thursdays and worst of all putting 10 games on at 1pm and 3 on at 4pm. Having all the great games spread out makes for the best ratings but it devalues NFLST quite a bit.

    Really what they are doing is wising up. They won’t be taken out to the woodshed again by the NFL and they think they can do just fine being a non-exclusive carrier. They’d rather pay a fraction of the money they are now and allow the NFL to spread it around. In the end the NFL does just as well if not better and D* thinks they are better off as well.

    People asking for the streaming, get real. Good luck when millions of people are tying to stream games.

    As for providers in general, I still prefer D* to Comcast or any other cable provider. FIOS I have seen and is nice but available to about 1% of the country.

  57. The NFL should follow the MLS on this one.

    MLS offers MLS Live for $60/year. You get full HD Internet streaming of most games, and you get anytime replay access 48 hours after the event.

    Imagine watching that game you liked from week 1 whenever you want all season long.

    Streams on my phone through their app too.

    NFL should do this.

  58. NFL Sunday Ticket is absolutely the ONLY reason I have Directv. When that goes, so do I. I was in the Military for so many years and usually always unable to get my teams games on network TV. The ticket gave me that opportunity. I have been a customer of this service for 10+ years and will not hesitate to cancel and go with whoever can give me my teams games.

  59. A lot of people are missing the point. ST got more and more expensive because the the rate kept going up. It was worth it to DTV because the exclusivity kept many subscribers around. But that equation has changed.

    Odds are the NFL also realizes they can probably get more money by selling the package across multiple platforms like very other sport (and potentially even broadband like the NBA/MLB).

    DirecTV will likely still carry Sunday Ticket…it just won’t be an exclusive item anymore.

    The good news for consumers is the non-exclusive cost will likely be lower.

  60. i love NFL sunday ticket and have ordered it the last six years. i will not be ordering it this year but that is mainly b/c i moved back to MN for the first time in 14 years and can watch the vikes every week anyway…and i am still actually considering it just so i can watch the games i want every week. it would be a no brainer if it weren’t so damn expensive.

  61. Sunday Ticket is the main reason lots of Fokes have Direct TV..and Direct TV is the Main reason ppl stay home or go to the Sports Bars and Not go to games anymore..NFL can’t like that too much

  62. I have been a DirecTV customer since 1994 main reason I got DirecTV for I can watch my Dallas Cowboys play each and every Sunday. I recently have Fios Internet only at my home and if DirecTV cancel Sunday ticket I will change over to the Fios. I watch the price of DirecTV skyrocket because of NFL.

    If directv share this with another carrier ala Verizon your customer base would become nonexisting. NFL is asking too much for package but your lost is all carriers gain.

  63. At least Sunday Ticket on DirecTV is truly live and in all-HD glory. ST on PS3 is on a 15 second delay, and has brutal buffering issues. You give the rights to cable carriers who carry only one HD channel of movie channels currently due to bandwidth limitations, and have fun watching ST in standard def.


  64. Red zone sucks you want watch game or what Direct tv been member since 1994. No Sunday Ticket, NFL will suck who want watch NFL rewind game unless it was historic or your team kick ass. Too many games on Thursday night. Too mush of good thing can tarnish your product . NFL keep games on Direct tv.

    He’ll I was only person with SB with the 50″ snow in neighborhood in Virginia. Comcast was offline for week. No power to there sub station on TV.
    Dawn I just got my Genie, Heather Davis

  65. Husband is big Denver Broncos fan but we live in New England. We have direct TV just so he can watch the Dever games. Last year we found most games ended up on our local channels and we basically threw our money away. For 2013 I would love to find out in advance if the games for our team are nationally broadcast in my area so I can cancel the NFL sunday ticket. Can anyone please help me figure out how to do this? Can I enter my zip code somewhere and find out?
    Thank you,
    Wife of a Denver Broncos FAN!

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