SBD/March 7, 2013/Media

DirecTV May Drop NFL Sunday Ticket Or Consider Non-Exclusivity If Price Is Too High

DirecTV Exec VP & CFO Pat Doyle yesterday said that "if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even [drop]" the NFL Sunday Ticket package, according to Georg Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Doyle spoke at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Florida and addressed the future of Sunday Ticket "amid rising sports costs" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 3/6). The company's current deal with the NFL is for four years and $4B. It expires after the '14 season (THE DAILY). CABLEFAX DAILY notes if the "price is right," the provider "will renew." However, Doyle said, "We're not necessarily concerned about going to nonexclusive, it it's structured properly. Our goal would always be to keep it exclusive if we can" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 3/7). CBSSPORTS.com's Josh Katzowitz noted if DirecTV "declines to sign a deal, you can be sure there will be a way for you to see every single NFL game on Sunday afternoon regardless" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/6). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Shalini Ramachandran notes Cablevision, Verizon FiOS and DirecTV all have "added sports-channel surcharges on their cable packages over the past 12 months, but have all said the fees only partially cover the cost of the sports programming." DirecTV's sports surcharge was "instituted last summer and isn't included in the 4.5% average rate increase the company instituted for this year" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/7). MEDIA POST's Wayne Friedman noted DirecTV has been "experimenting with a surcharge to customers when it comes to regional sports channels." Doyle said, "We have been surprised with the reaction, which has been pretty mild" (MEDIAPOST.com, 3/6).
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