With eight weeks left in the season, DIRECTV has lowered the price of the 2017 NFL Sunday Ticket for existing customers to $159.96 for the basic plan and $199.96 for the Max plan.

The basic plan, which normally costs $281 for the season, includes all out-of-market Sunday afternoon games (except games played overseas) on satellite and via streaming.

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The Max plan, which normally costs $377, includes the out-of-market games via satellite and streaming as well as the Red Zone Channel and the Fantasy Zone Channel.

This is the second time this season that DIRECTV has dropped the price of the pay package for which it paid more than $1 billion over eight years for the exclusive rights.

The satcaster offers a separate streaming edition of the package, starting at $279.96. But in early October, as the league was being criticized by some for player protests during the National Anthem, DIRECTV cut the online plan to $209 with a free, one-week trial.

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The satcaster’s decision to offer a reduced price for any plan that early in the NFL season was unusual and perhaps signaled that some fans were dropping the package due to the protests.

In the past, DIRECTV has not sold the Ticket for a reduced fee until the first half of the season is over, as it is now doing. (And in some years, it waited until the last month of the season to cut the subscription fee.)

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— Phillip Swann