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When Could DIRECTV Lose NFL Sunday Ticket?

Q. I’m very concerned about DIRECTV losing the NFL Sunday Ticket. Do you know when that could happen? Will it be this season? — Carlo, Milwaukee.

Carlo, as you probably know, The National Football League has an opt-out clause in its eight-year contract with DIRECTV that allows it to sell the rights to the package of Sunday afternoon games to other providers. (The eight-year deal is now in its fifth year.)

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The opt-out enables the league to sell the plan as an exclusive to another provider, or it could allow DIRECTV to continue carrying it while another distributor offers it as well. And, of course, the NFL could allow DIRECTV to keep its exclusive for the remaining years of the agreement.

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As to your second question, the league can not opt-out of the DIRECTV deal for the 2019 season. In other words, you have nothing to worry about this year. The opt-out, if it’s implemented, would begin with the 2020 season.

And for your first question, the NFL must decide whether to opt-out by this September.

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DIRECTV, which is now owned by AT&T, paid $1.5 billion for the exclusive rights to the Sunday Ticket so the league is weighing whether it can make more money by going exclusively with a different provider or splitting the rights between multiple providers.

For instance, it could sell non-exclusive rights to DIRECTV and also allow a major streamer such as Amazon or Apple to offer the Ticket. The combination of the two deals could exceed the price of the original DIRECTV agreement.  (It’s also possible, but highly unlikely, that AT&T would pay extra to keep the Ticket as an exclusive.)

So Carlo, we should know in the next few months what the league plans to do with the Sunday Ticket. But you can rest assured that you will be able to watch it on DIRECTV, and only DIRECTV, this season.

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

2 Comments on When Could DIRECTV Lose NFL Sunday Ticket?

  1. MaryJean Beccard // June 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm // Reply

    I called with NFL concerns and the first guy couldn’t speak English and didn’t understand my concern so so.eone else came on the line and seemed knowledgeable and assured me that NFL package was always going to be available. Now she did mention streaming and i will say not a fan. Too much freezing and she assured me to call and it could be fixed.. aaaaaa No by the time I call and it is fixed we have misses a play or end of game. So plz tell me now what?

  2. I dropped Sunday Ticket several years ago because it just kept getting more expensive for a lot of mediocre games. You already have free games on Monday and Thursday with three free games on Sunday.

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