DirecTV purchase could hinge on NFL Sunday Ticket renewal

If DirecTV loses the NFL Sunday Ticket package, plenty of customers won’t want DirecTV.  The company’s potential buyer may not want it, either.

According to Jon Erlichman of, a federal filing made in connection with AT&T’s proposed purchase contains this clause:  “The parties also have agreed that in the event that DIRECTV’s agreement for the ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ service is not renewed substantially on the terms discussed between the parties, the Company may elect not to consummate the Merger[.]”

The current contract between the league and DirecTV runs through 2014.  Given the regulatory realities, it’s likely that the AT&T/DirecTV merger wouldn’t become final until 2015.  Which means that the NFL’s relationship with DirecTV will be resolved before AT&T’s relationship with DirecTV is resolved.

This gives the NFL plenty of power over the process.  If the league asks for too much money and the deal isn’t renewed, the AT&T/DirecTV merger gets blown up.

It also provides an AT&T/DirecTV competitor an opening for killing the deal, simply by overpaying for NFL Sunday Ticket.

From the AT&T/DirecTV perspective, it’s not an unlimited pot of money.  The clause expressly refers to renewal “substantially on the terms discussed between the parties.”  If the number is too high, AT&T can still walk away.

There’s an apparent limitation to AT&T’s ability to walk away.  The tweet from Erlichman concludes with the word “but” after “Merger.”  Which means that there’s some sort of limitation to AT&T’s power to pull the plug.

I’ll track down the filing to see what the “but” is all about after PFT Live.  Until then, feel free to do it for me and send the link.  A free one-year subscription to PFT Live is riding on it.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m. ET: Here’s the rest of the sentence. “[B]ut AT&T will not have a damages claim arising out of such failure so long as the Company used its reasonable best efforts to obtain such renewal.”  Free one-year subscriptions to PFT to everyone who sent it in.

84 responses to “DirecTV purchase could hinge on NFL Sunday Ticket renewal

  1. Just hurry up. Im not ordering until its official. Cant believe people are paying before hand.

  2. That’s a heck of a lot of money to be riding on whether or not people get to see those ridiculous new Bucs uniforms…

  3. “This gives the NFL plenty of power over the process.”

    Bingo. It’s eyebrow-raising that this information was divulged prior to DirecTV sealing up the Sunday Ticket arrangements. As it stands now, the NFL has even more leverage than they otherwise would have — and the NFL already had plenty of clout before this.


  4. cajunaise, fair comment. However you should focus your energy figuring out how your team is going to defend Vincent Jackson (6-5), Mike Evans (6-5), and Seferian-Jenkins (6-6). Good luck with that, son.

  5. If you are a competitor you should ask yourself the question… we were going to let DirecTV get that package again, and why?

    DirecTV isn’t the smoothest company on working out price agreements. I just switched to Comcast after they failed to pay me $400 that I felt they owed me. I terminated my contract and months later a SV called me and after understanding my position he agreed to give me the money anyhow even though he knew I wouldn’t return as a customer now that I set up a 2 year Comcast agreement that had cancellation fees. So they screwed with me over $400 to not keep my business, but then gave me the money after I left anyhow. They missed the one piece of the deal that kept their customer revenue stream intact. Nice move!

  6. And this is just another example of the forward thinking businessman that is Jerry Jones
    AT&T Stadium, AT&T will have Sunday Ticket. Jerry just keeps getting richer

  7. You think that the purchase of a company could depend on that company’s most valuable asset being secured? (It’s probably television’s most valuable asset too)

  8. bcetour: Since the Bucs aren’t making the playoffs for at least another four seasons, my team isn’t concerned about their defenders.

  9. I bet they’re going to lose it, which it why they’re trying to merge with AT&T.
    Get the money, while the gettin’ is still good.

  10. Man, would I love to see the Sunday ticket opened up to other cable/satellite providers.

    DirecTV’s prices for return customers for the ST are ridiculous. They treat new customers like gold, and old customers like garbage.

  11. The NFL ticket and the NFL in general has become too expensive for the average fan. You have to save up to go to a game. When will they price themselves out of a league?

  12. I want the NFL Sunday ticket so bad! I just don’t know if I want DirecTV

  13. I got Sunday ticket for free last year cause DirecTV failed to come out and fix my cable box 3 times in a row!!!!! Awful customer support.

  14. If they lose NFL Sunday Ticket, DirectTV could always substitute Bowling for Dollars Sunday Ticket.

  15. Unlike the others that have commented here, I have had a fabulous experience with DirecTV. The packages are reasonably priced, they generally only increase prices once a year in January, and Sunday Ticket is icing on the cake.

    The absolute worst thing that could ever happen is if Time Warner got Sunday Ticket. Time Warner Cable is the worst company I have ever dealt with in my life. It has to be run by some people who are enemies to America. They raise prices constantly (they have raised the price on my internet service 5 times in the 1.5 years I have had them, and I have to have them due to some sweetheart exclusive deal my condo management company cut with them with no input from the residents), their service is interrupted every bit as much as satellite dishes, and the “customer service” is by far the worst in the world. If they get Sunday Ticket, I’ll just have to live with only having 2-3 games on Sunday afternoons for the rest of my life. I’ll never sign up with Time Warner just to get Sunday Ticket.

  16. I don’t care where it ends up but they need to switch up the package. I don’t live in my team’s TV market and would gladly pay $50-$99 for my team’s 16 games, but won’t pay $300 or whatever for all of them.

    They would make SO much more money by offering individual games ($5-$10?) or offering single team seasons.

  17. This is sooooo 1990’s… Today the NFL should be available to everyone with a connection, no matter what the medium… How much money would the NFL make if they offered out of town single game prices via the Internet to those who are unable to be home to watch their team?

  18. “It also provides an AT&T/DirecTV competitor an opening for killing the deal, simply by overpaying for NFL Sunday Ticket.”

    That opening has always been there. So far, the only cable/satellite provider with enough subscribers to justify overpaying has been DirecTV. That’s not going to change.

  19. Direct TV sucks anyways who wants to pay that kind of money for service that gets blocked out if there is more than one cloud in the sky!

  20. You don’t have to have Direct TV to get sunday ticket. I know you can stream it on the Playstation Network (subscription required). I had it last season and it worked great I was also able to stream it on my phone and laptop too.

  21. Either way the Consumer is screwed! This either goes to the Mega Mergers teams of AT&T/DirecTV or Comcast/TimeWarner. The NFL wins and we all lose. What would be nice is Pay-Per-View per Game or Team or Division. We would pay dearly no matter what, but at least get some value in choice packages.

    Finally, the comment about Jerry Jones getting rich off this above is so dumb. He has nothing to do with AT&T. They simply paid to have naming rights to his Stadium !?

  22. I hope DIRECTV loses the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket so that people like me who can’t get DIRECTV where they live will be able to get NFL Sunday Ticket. Please bring NFL Sunday Ticket to Time Warner Cable!!!!

  23. I have been a customer of DirecTV for 12 years and last summer I called them up and complained because all the new customers got all the benefits for free. To make me happy I got a Genie and two mini genies, three new receivers, a new dish (the installer said it was bad) and Sunday Ticket for free. I have a two year commitment which is fine because there is no way I am going to Cox.

    I love DirecTV even if they don’t have the Sunday Ticket.

  24. $300+ for 17 weeks of all the local games is less the $20 a week.

    Well worth it for me. Much cheaper than going to the game or a bar. In the comfort of your owe home with all beer you need not overpriced.

  25. The most fun is paying for it and then half of the games are on free TV and you can’t see them on Sunday Ticket.

  26. “Direct TV sucks anyways who wants to pay that kind of money for service that gets blocked out if there is more than one cloud in the sky!”

    Funny how something works better now than it did in 1994.

    The internet sucks anyways, its so slow and takes hours to download anything. Said everyone in 1994.

  27. ATT is already too big for their own good.

    DirecTV delivery and service would only get worse.

  28. Eventually Sunday Ticket will be on all the other providers. I have Verizon FIOS so I’m just waiting for it to happen. I can’t see the NFL re-upping with DirecTV now, there is just too much money out there not to. Comcast, Verizon, Dish TV, etc will pay thru the roof to get Sunday Ticket.

  29. I am praying the Sunday Ticket leaves DirectTv is offered on cable channels. I pay $125 a month for DirectTv alone without any pay channels. I could bundle my TV phone and internet and save $100 a month if my cable provider offered the Sunday Ticket

  30. @bcetour says: May 19, 2014 11:05 AM

    cajunaise, fair comment. However you should focus your energy figuring out how your team is going to defend Vincent Jackson (6-5), Mike Evans (6-5), and Seferian-Jenkins (6-6). Good luck with that, son.
    That’s easy to defend against. Enter Lovie Smith leading the offense.

  31. I am thinking of dumping NFL Sunday ticket and just watching the NFL Network Redzone with Scott Hanson (who does a great job!). If I want to watch a full Raiders game (my team) there are sights on the internet where you can get them.

    Thumps up for NFLN Redzone, thumps down for NFL Sunday ticket. Let’s have a vote.

  32. Simply put, if Directv loses The NFL ticket, I will no longer be a Directv customer. I love their customer service and have been with them since ’98, but I would leave in a skinny minute for whomever got the package.

  33. I have a dish and 4 receivers on my house and a separate dish and receiver in my detached garage JUST for Sunday Ticket…if that went away I would switch to whoever acquired it in a heartbeat.

  34. Netflix has better on demand content than Direct TV. The provider has degenerated into mostly shopping and porn. The NFL Ticket is the only reason to have it.

  35. So the NFL (NoFunLeague) has a new powerful way to screw its fans. Bravo, and all hail the U.S. Oligarchy.

  36. You really think you’ll save money if the Sunday ticket goes elsewhere? No offense, my friend, but you’re terribly naïve.

  37. Dish sucks, Comcast sucks, I myself have had NO problems what so ever with Directv!!! No Sunday ticket will only hurt ALL the involved parties, most importantly the fans!!! I’ll bet idiot Goodell is envolved in the middle of screwing the fans AGAIN!!!

  38. DirecTv has been great to me over the past 12 years. The picture is better than cable, and they tell me to call every 6 months to sign up for whatever promos they have which save me $20-$25 per month. However….if they lose Sunday Ticket….I’m going to switch to whoever gets it.

  39. Please tell me where you live that DirecTV is not available. It’s a satellite service people, no internet connection or outside serivce/equipment needed.

  40. Seems to me that the NFL would get the most money by selling Sunday Ticket to EVERY provider and allowing the most fans to sign up.

  41. This is the prophecy Cuban forecasted. The merger will go through. The greedy NFL will charge DirecTV/ATT a kajillion dollars for a 10 yr contract, that company will turn and pass that cost to its new monopolized customers at somewhere around $700-$800 for the season and THAT will be the tipping point for middle America to say “kiss it”! It happened with the new Yankee Stadium on a MUCH smaller scale but nevertheless…its economics 101.

    If you’re a fan of real football, you will root for this to happen so that a new league will rise from the ashes and give us the product that we grew to love instead of this amalgam of rip-off, two hand touch.

  42. You can get Sunday Ticket without DirecTV on your PC and tablet. I can’t believe people are complaining that you can’t! It’s been several years now that, in fact, you can.

  43. Making the NFL ticket exclusive thru DTV is like buying a car than GM tells you that Exxon is the only fuel you can use!

  44. I hope the NFL don’t resign. I want to watch the NFL on ROKU Player like I do NHL & MLB. I cut cable years ago.

  45. Where are some of you people living??? Everytime the DirecTv subject comes up, there are dozens of people complaining about losing signal when more than one cloud is in the sky. I have had DirecTv for 7 years (the only reason is Sunday Ticket), and I have lost signal maybe a dozen times. And usually that is from ice/snow piled up on the dish. Maybe I should consider myself lucky, but if your signal is that poor, and yet you continue to pay an arm and a leg for crappy reception, who exactly is the idiot?

    I wont defend DirecTv from criticism on their customer support, they suck at that part. They have that “you need us more than we need you” attitude.

  46. I don’t understand why everyone thinks the grass is greener o the other side. And by “other side” I mean “another cable company.” I’ve had DTV and Ticket for years now, every single year I am able to get the Ticket discounted to FREE. After my first initial 2 year contract, I call very year to “cancel” my service, then negotiate my way down to a one year contract extension, free movie channels for a few months and FREE TICKET! DTV has the best customer service hands down when it comes to cable companies. Time Warner, Cox, ATT and others; I’ve had them all, and they are pure garbage compared to DTV service.

    I live in cleveland where we get plenty of cloud coverage, from thunderstorms to snow storms, and I don’t lose service any more than others do. I am a huge fan of DTV and am very sad to see this merger take place. :((

  47. Indeed; why aren’t lower priced single-team packages offered? Wasted opportunity to generate revenue from fans that are unwilling (or unable) to pay for the full package, IMO.

  48. The last time the NFL resigned with DirectTV, they added a clause stating that Sunday Ticket must be made available to people who cannot get DirectTV service for whatever reason. This went into effect for the 2012 season.

    It seems that most of DirectTVs sales/customer service reps had no clue about this — at least not when I called before the start of the 2012 season. I spoke to several people who told me it was impossible before I finally found someone who said to call back after a certain date.

    So I signed up for the streaming package for 2012 (no PlayStation required). It was good in theory — I could watch games on my computer or Android tablet. Problem was, the streaming quality was terrible. For every game, I would have to log back into the app — but it thought I was still logged in and wouldn’t let me. I ended up missing several minutes of any game I tried to watch. DirectTV said it was my network — I don’t know because I can stream other HD video content from Amazon with no issue.

    I decided it wasn’t worth it and didn’t bother signing up for 2013. I’m in the LA market, and not having a local team works out well for me because the Fox affiliate shows a few Saints games per year. Between that and the night games, it wasn’t worth it for for the games that required schlepping off to a bar at 10 AM on a Sunday.

    However, if you don’t get to see many of your team’s games, it may be worth it. Maybe by now their reps all know about it, so it not such a hassle to sign up. BTW, it’s $50 more than what DirectTV customers have to pay.

  49. They would make money hand over fist if they would make it available to all cable companies and have the option of just buying a small package for all 16 of your favorite team games for people that live out of state.

  50. DirecTV is great. You gotta love all the additional HD coverage of other major sporting events like the Masters, Wimbledon, US Open etc. Great! Customer service is great too, you have to ask for a retention specialist.

    Only reason I have DirecTV is for the sports though.

  51. All cable companies suck. I bought direct tv for Sunday ticket last year and it’s been a nightmare. The tech that came to our house completely botched my internet.

  52. armorgan67 says: May 19, 2014 11:58 AM

    Eventually Sunday Ticket will be on all the other providers. I have Verizon FIOS so I’m just waiting for it to happen. I can’t see the NFL re-upping with DirecTV now, there is just too much money out there not to. Comcast, Verizon, Dish TV, etc will pay thru the roof to get Sunday Ticket.


    You don’t know a thing about business to say this. Not in a millions years. What provider would WANT it if “everyone” had it?

    It will be EXCLUSIVE to whomever buys it in the next contract. Period.

  53. DirecTV sucks.

    The advertise as carrying “Every Game”. But “Every Game” excludes preseason, Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, games being shown locally, and games subject to blackout.

    More like “Two-Thirds of Games”.

    Combine that with DirecTV’s legendarily poor customer serview and you can count me as a great big NO THANKS! Would gladly pay a la carte by game/team to stream over the net directly from NFL, though.

  54. The Ticket, kept me from sitting and watching a football game from beginning to end. Always flipping back and forth. I missed a lot. I’m a much happier fan without it.

  55. PFT Live for free?!! Does that mean you pay for my internet for a year?

  56. I don’t understand why everyone is only looking at this deal and po pooing DTV. Ya like, gee if I go to cable they will treat me right.
    Funny, I was a loyal Charter user for decades and this last time they notified there loyal customer that the monthly rate was going up $30 and that was after a $20 month increase the month before.

    As usual I called and tried to work out a deal but this time they stood firm and adamantly explained (called several times) they no longer do deals. I left and went to DTV. Love it. Yes the price will go up in two years just like cable but DTV has so much more to offer than cable.
    Oh, ps cable got wise and now you need a box for every tv just like DTV. No more one box operation. So you pay rental on all of them.

    So those of you who are quick to jump on the cable band wagon beware of what you wish for.

    Now that I do have the dish, I have a bargaining chip down the road. Cable thought they were the only horse in the race but when you have a dish you have baterning power at least.

  57. Vikings fan in FL…I would live in a cardboard box as long as I have my DirecTV Sunday Ticket.

    Comcast has butchered my affairs so badly in the past that I will never give them another penny. Let’s hope that DirecTV never makes me have to rethink that choice.

  58. This worries me. DirecTV customer service, from my experiences, is far better than AT&T.

  59. Take away the package from Directv and break up the package by league and put it out to bid on the major networks!

  60. Unfortunately people are smoking something if they think that ala carte or “only your team” packages will come to other platforms anytime soon. DirecTV likely makes a marginal profit on the NFL itself, the bulk of the profit comes from the few million people that they bring in and keep as subscribers.

    If the NFL did move to a plan where anyone could get the Ticket from any platform, then the price would seemingly need to go up to make up for there being no subscription revenue bump for the provider. As is, you are paying $240 to $330. If you are a fan of a good team, you may be able to see a good chunk of the games outside of the ticket. I know one year I got to see 10 of Green Bay’s 16 games outside of the Ticket here in California. So I basically paid $50 a game to watch 6 of my teams games.

    So in a world were people could pay per game, I wouldn’t be surprised if the price tag was $40 to $75 per week. I think some folks have it in their head that it would be 9.99 or 14.99 per game, which seems like a price where the NFL would be leaving money on the table.

  61. Directv is great I have it forever…. Look at all the jealous people out there without the ticket.. Haha directv will never lose it so just face it..

  62. It is also up in the air whether Direct will carry the SEC Network, which is another potential mass exodus situation for them.

  63. In my mind AT&T is making a major mistake. No way is DirecTV worth $49B without the NFL Package and announcing it before the deal with the NFL, DirecTV is free to negotiate as they see fit. This only helps the NFL because they hold both of them hostage. An these CEO’s make millions each year…mind blowing.

  64. I love directv. if I complain I get all the free new stuff. price is fair, I get all my fav team’s games with a package I can get for almost free by once again simply complaining about the deals new people are getting while a reliable paying customer like myself is getting “screwed”. they are great. customer service is good because its mostly independent contractors when they come out to your home.

    I’d be kind of bummed to have to switch because I get all the TV and extra channels I want with DirecTV, but would switch to whoever has Sunday Ticket. I don’t like redzone channel or any of that stuff. to me it isn’t watching football when its a constant highlight. football is about the entire field, I like to watch all of a game, or at least most of it, complete drives etc. Love the ticket, love DTV

  65. I’m about to unplug. There is too much for FREEEEEEEEEE on the interweb.

    $150/month x 12 months = $1800 + the ticket/ year.

    Aereo is coming, streaming is here, and I’m Amazon Prime/Netflix equipped already. A new day is about here. Screw these robber barons.

  66. In my area directv is the best option. My only other option is Charter who sucks and has the worst service and worst customer service I have ever experienced. Charter is the reason I switched to DirecTV in the first place. Recently Uverse became available in my area but I can’t speak on their service or protect because I never used them for TV, only internet and home phone.

    I’m marginally satisfied with DirecTV. Even though they claim the signal stays up 99% in the rain, that is a lie. Even a hint of rain disrupts my signal more often than not. I don’t watch TV often because most of it is reality crap, but I do watch sports and a handful of regular shows. So when I do watch TV, it’s frustrating when I can’t even watch due to rain fade.

    Also DirecTV’s app for tablets sucks. It crashes as soon as I open it and it’s been like this for months.

    The only reason I’m keeping them is because of Sunday ticket, if there was a way I could get Sunday ticket without having to subscribe to a direcTV package I would strongly consider it and just subscribe to hulu or Netflix to catch the shows I do actually watch.

  67. Smart move by AT&T. If Direct TV loses the Sunday Ticket millions of subscribers would cancel the service and the value of the company would drop like a rock making the purchase alot less attractive.

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