SBD/February 21, 2014/Media

DirecTV Making Progress In Negotiations To Keep Exclusive Rights To NFL Sunday Ticket

DirecTV continues to "plug away at a deal that would allow it to retain the exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package, but the satellite-TV giant said it has yet to finalize an agreement with the league," according to Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. DirecTV Chair & CEO Mike White on Thursday during an earnings call said that the negotiations "began to pick up steam after the NFL season officially ended on Feb 2." He added, "Now that we’re through the Super Bowl we’ve both agreed to extend our exclusive negotiating period. Our conversations with the NFL are progressing in a very positive and constructive manner." White said that he "continues to be very optimistic that DirecTV will hold onto the rights. DirecTV’s current agreement expires at the end of the '14 season. White "hinted that the digital rights component of the new agreement may have complicated the negotiations, before adding that he hopes to have more to say on the matter later this year." He said, "From our perspective, we’re optimistic. We very much value our relationship with the NFL, we think it’s important to our brand -- but we’re also looking for opportunities, as we did last year, to strengthen what we’re doing in a smaller way with our DirecTV app and the Sunday Ticket Experience" (ADWEEK.com, 2/20).

BALL SO HARD: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Farrell noted sub fees for the Dodgers' SportsNet L.A. are "more than twice those that other baseball teams charge." White warned that subscribers in the L.A. market "could see increases in monthly RSN surcharges if the satellite giant carries the channel at current prices." He said, “I certainly think when you see these kinds of increases in a given market like the Los Angeles market has experienced with both the Lakers and the Dodgers, it’s frankly what has driven us to have to do a surcharge. I think you can expect us to see probably a more than an average increase in that surcharge as we pick up these kinds of situations" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 2/20). White called SportsNet L.A.'s rate a "staggering increase relative to any other benchmark in Major League Baseball" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/21). DirecTV currently does not have a carriage deal for SportsNet L.A. (THE DAILY).
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