The NFL’s out-of-market games package, Sunday Ticket, has called DirecTV home since 1994. But a new report by ProFootballTalk indicates the league could opt out of that contract after the 2019 season, possibly switching to a streaming partner.
Though most of the NFL’s broadcast deals run through 2022, a source told ProFootballTalk that the agreement with DirecTV includes an opt-out clause after next season. The emergence of several robust streaming platforms provides new competition to the satellite provider for what would certainly be an attractive package.
Sunday Ticket allows fans to see every NFL game every week no matter where they live. AT&T-owned DirecTV renewed in 2014 and pays $1.5 billion annually for the rights. The cost of the base package for consumers is a pricey $300. In comparison, the popular RedZone channel, which shows scoring chances from games around the league, can be purchased along with Sunday Ticket or streamed separately for as little as $4.99 per month for mobile users.
DirecTV, boosted by AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, may still seek to re-up the rights. But there will be no shortage of suitors for any NFL broadcast rights, and the Sunday Ticket package is well suited to any of the new digital OTT services on the market that are able to air concurrent streams. That list includes Amazon, Facebook, ESPN+, B/R Live, and DAZN. Amazon already has Thursday Night Football and will carry multiple Premier League games in the same window, and DAZN carries Sunday Ticket in Canada (although its streams suffered some technical difficulties last season). Verizon-owned Yahoo also currently streams all in-market games, and Google’s YouTubeTV is positioning itself as the sports fans’ choice for a cord-cutters’ skinny bundle.