DIRECTV might be feeling the impact of subscribers cancelling their NFL Sunday Ticket plans due to player protests during the National Anthem. The satcaster has launched a new in-season promotion to attract online customers that includes a free trial week of service and a reduced subscription price.
The satcaster offers a separate streaming edition of the package of ‘out-of-market’ NFL games, starting at $279.96. (The satellite price is $281.) The online plan gives you everything the basic satellite Sunday Ticket does — every Sunday afternoon game (minus ones played overseas), Short Cuts (next day game replays in 30 minutes), and real-time stats.
However, DIRECTV is now offering the basic online Ticket for just $209.97. (The Max online edition, which includes the Red Zone and Fantasy channels, is now $269.97.) Plus, interested customers can sign up for a free, one-week trial.
If they don’t want to subscribe, they will not be billed if they cancel prior to the end of the week after initially signing up. (Note: DIRECTV does not say in the offer when the promotion will expire.)
DIRECTV traditionally offers a free preview week to all satellite subscribers to start the season, but this is the first time it has ever offered one after the first week of the season. The satcaster’s decision to offer a reduced price this early in the NFL season is also unusual. In the past, DIRECTV has not sold the Ticket for a reduced fee until the first half of the season is over. (And in some years, it waited until the last month of the season to cut the subscription fee.)
This Sunday will be week 5 for the NFL in a 17-week season.
The one-week trial, and smaller price, is likely to generate significant interest, particularly among younger people who might prefer online viewing (and, arguably, be less agitated by players protesting the National Anthem.)
You can watch the streaming version of the Ticket on tablets, computers, laptops and connected devices such as Smart TVs, Fire TV boxes and sticks, and Roku.
But there is a catch.
DIRECTV says NFLSundayTicket.TV, the streaming-only version, is only available to non-DIRECTV customers who live in select multi-dwelling unit buildings (apartments, condos, etc.) where DIRECTV service is not available, or live in a residence that has been verified as unable to receive the traditional DIRECTV satellite service with a dish.
How do you verify you are eligible? You go to this site and type in your address.
DIRECTV or AT&T, which owns the satellite service, has not commented on the Sunday Ticket refund controversy, or even acknowledged that it’s offering refunds if consumers call and complain about the player protests. But numerous DIRECTV customers have posted comments on social media sites that they have been issued refunds when they call about the Anthem.
It will be interesting to see if the satcaster unveils additional promotions to generate more subscribers, and revenue, that might have been lost by any cancellations.
— Phillip Swann