DIRECTV, which could lose the NFL Sunday Ticket after the 2019 season, is apparently looking to keep existing subscribers content by not raising the price for this year’s package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games, the TV Answer Man has learned.
Jessica Brewer, an AT&T spokeswoman, tells the TV Answer Man that DIRECTV will charge existing customers $293.94 for the basic Sunday Ticket plan, which is the exact same price as the 2018 basic package. (The satcaster has yet to begin taking orders for the 2019 season, although it has revealed the pricing.)
For the last several years, DIRECTV has raised the price of the Sunday Ticket to help offset the $12 billion it paid to secure an eight-year exclusive contract with the league to carry the games. Last year, for example, DIRECTV raised the price of the basic plan by 4.2 percent.
However, the NFL has revealed that it has an opt-out in the agreement which could permit it to sell all or part of the Ticket to other providers after the 2019 season. (The 2019 season will mark season five in the eight-year deal.) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently hinted he’s interested in selling at least some part of the Ticket to a streaming service, although that could be DIRECTV Now, DIRECTV’s sister service.
News of the opt-out has upset some DIRECTV satellite subscribers who have commented on social media sites that they will drop DIRECTV if it does not continue carrying the Sunday Ticket as an exclusive. The decision to keep prices firm for 2019 could help soothe those angry feelings, at least in the short term.
Brewer says the Sunday Ticket Max plan, which includes additional features such as a Fantasy Channel and Red Zone channel, will also stay at $395.94, the same price as last year. DIRECTV last year raised the Max price by 4.7 percent.
Note: The prices are for existing subscribers. DIRECTV is offering the Ticket for free to new subscribers if they agree to a 2-year contract.
— Phillip Swann
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