Q. I am a DIRECTV subscriber and I want the Red Zone channel! But I don’t see it offered anywhere. I know some cable guys have it, but why not DIRECTV?! Please explain! — Tony, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Tony, DIRECTV does have the Red Zone channel, but there’s a catch.
The Red Zone channel is only available to subscribers to DIRECTV’s ‘Max’ edition of the NFL Sunday Ticket. It is not available via the basic Sunday Ticket plan, or through a separate subscription to the Red Zone channel alone.
(You are right, Tony. Some pay TV services will sell you the Red Zone channel as a separate standalone channel. Also, for readers unfamiliar with the Red Zone channel, it offers live views of games when one team is inside its opponent’s 20-yard-line. )
Every year, many DIRECTV subscribers become irate when they learn they can only watch the Red Zone channel with a Max Ticket subscription. The Basic Ticket plan costs $293.94 while the Max price is $395.94. To get the Red Zone channel, football fans have to shell out an extra $100.
But there’s a reason for DIRECTV’s decision. The satcaster has agreed to pay roughly $1.5 billion to the NFL over eight years for the exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket package. By placing the popular Red Zone channel in Max, DIRECTV is assured that more people will subscribe to the more expensive package, and therefore will generate more revenue to offset its investment.
As usual, Tony, it’s all about the Benjamins. But at least the Red Zone channel is available on DIRECTV, albeit for a price.
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— Phillip Swann