AT&T Mulling Free NFL Sunday Ticket Subscription For Wireless Phone Customers
AT&T is "floating the possibility of offering" DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket to "all its wireless phone customers, as the phone giant seeks to convince Wall Street of the strategic value" of its planned $49B acquisition of the satellite TV firm, according to Ramachandran & Gryta of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Analysts said that AT&T management last Wednesday in a N.Y. analyst meeting "highlighted Sunday Ticket as a cornerstone of future product-bundle offerings it can market to its customers." AT&T execs "even suggested it could exempt streaming of NFL games from counting toward subscribers' data limits." DirecTV and the NFL "are currently negotiating a renewal of the agreement." AT&T "can abandon the DirecTV acquisition if the Sunday Ticket offering isn't renewed." But acquiring DirecTV "wouldn't automatically give AT&T the right to sell Sunday Ticket separately to all its wireless customers." DirecTV's mobile streaming rights "only cover people paying for the satellite service." Sources said that "under current deal terms being contemplated between DirecTV and the NFL, AT&T wouldn't have separate or expanded rights for Sunday Ticket." Any move by AT&T to "extend the NFL offering to its customers would put it on a collision course with its biggest rival," Verizon, which "already has the exclusive smartphone streaming rights to football games for Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights." Verizon also can "show Sunday afternoon games from customers' home markets on Verizon Wireless phones" (WSJ.com, 6/6).