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Volume 26 No. 50
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DirecTV Could Lose Exclusive Rights To NFL's Out-Of-Town Games

The NFL is "talking to technology companies and cable operators," as well as incumbent DirecTV, about the future of Sunday Ticket, according to a sources cited by Daniel Kaplan of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The source also said that the league is "open to hybrid deals between multiple companies." DirecTV's current eight-year deal for the package pays the NFL about $1.5B annually and runs through '20, but the league "has an option to end the deal one year early." Cable operators have long wanted Sunday Ticket the way they "have had similar options from the three other major leagues." It could "help offset the fraying of the classic cable bundle." It is a "driving mission of the NFL to allow fans access to games on many platforms and devices" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/25 issue). The league "still has a good relationship with DirecTV." But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that it is "considering splitting up the rights to make games more widely available now that people don’t only watch at home." Goodell said, "We’re having great discussions with DirecTV and AT&T. We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery." He added, "We want it delivered on several different platforms" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/22).

DOOR OPEN FOR AMAZON? Sports business outlet JOHN WALL STREET wrote while it is "reasonable to assume DirectTV Now would be the front-runner to acquire the streaming rights," sources said the NFL "is leaning in to Amazon’s pitch." The company's Prime Video "can provide the league with the widest reach (relative to DirecTV Now, DAZN) and the NFL sees value in the e-commerce giant’s ability to facilitate merchandise and ticket sales" (JOHNWALLSTREET.com, 3/24).