Ed, believe it or not, DIRECTV Now, the live streaming service owned by AT&T, this season has offered the NFL Sunday Ticket in select markets.
If you live in the Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Hartford, or Louisville, Kentucky markets — and subscribe to DIRECTV Now’s ‘Just Right’ plan ($55 a month) or above — you can subscribe to the streaming edition of the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Previously, the Sunday Ticket was only available on DIRECTV’s satellite TV service, or via streaming through NFLSundayTicket.TV. However, to get the streaming edition through NFLSundayTicket.TV, you had to either be a college student, or prove you could not get a DIRECTV satellite dish at your home.
So to your question: Will DIRECTV Now offer the Ticket to all markets in 2019? And why was it only available in those seven markets this season?
Sports Business Journal last month reported that the NFL is studying the impact of offering the Ticket via streaming before taking the next step. The league permitted DIRECTV Now to offer it in those seven markets this season to generate sufficient data to assess streaming’s potential.
“The NFL wants to analyze how much demand there is for offering games digitally rather than just through satellite before making its decision (whether to offer Ticket streaming in more markets, or any markets at all.),” the article states.
The league could also be interested in opening up bidding on carrying the Ticket to additional streaming companies such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook. An opt-out clause in DIRECTV’s Ticket agreement would allow that.
Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, last week did not seem overly optimistic about offering the Sunday Ticket via DIRECTV Now in 2019 when asked about it at a financial conference.
“We think that we could have an incredible amount of success if we could distribute that product through our DIRECTV NOW platform, but those rights are restricted,” Stephenson told the USB Conference, according to Seeking Alpha. “And so, when it’s limited to a satellite delivery platform, it’s kind of limited usefulness, right? As the world changes and more and more people are streaming this content on the move, on the go, on smaller devices, on different screens, then we think it’s really important for these rights to evolve as well. But, right now, it’s pretty much a churn retention product (for DIRECTV, the satellite service.)”
Ed, I’ll stay on this story as events develop this year and next. Until then, happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann