As the NFL closes in on a new way of media deals, there’s one specific deal that has yet be discussed in significant detail.
The satellite and streaming deal for out-of-market games runs through 2021 or 2022 (the precise duration of the contract is one of the great mysteries in football). As noted by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, no negotiations have happened regarding the next home of Sunday Ticket, a property held by DirecTV since its inception in 1994.
It’s widely believed that Sunday Ticket will end up elsewhere. It remains possible that the satellite component will stay with DirecTV and that the streaming portion will go to a new home. Some have suggested that ESPN+ will acquire it.
Whatever the final form of Sunday Ticket, it will continue. Even though the deals with other networks will include a streaming element, Sunday Ticket will survive as a standalone property.
In this regard, it remains possible (although far from probable) that the NFL will retain the streaming rights Sunday Ticket and sell them directly to consumers. Typically, however, some other entity is willing to pay a premium for NFL content. For 27 years, DirecTV has done just that.