TV Answer Man, I tried watching the game last night on the NFL Network on my DIRECTV Stream and it wasn’t available because DIRECTV Stream doesn’t carry the NFL Network! Why is that? Doesn’t make any sense! — George, St. Paul, Minnesota.
George, you’re right. The NFL Network last night aired the surprisingly exciting matchup between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team which was won by Washington, 30-29, after a wild fourth quarter.
However, for DIRECTV Stream subscribers, it was not available. Despite carrying nearly all regional sports channels, which is a rarity in the live streaming category, DIRECTV Stream does not carry the NFL’s official channel which also happens to be home to Thursday night regular season games.
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This was not always the case. The NFL Network omission traces back to April 2019 when DIRECTV Stream was called DIRECTV Now and AT&T was the streamer’s sole owner. AT&T then was unable to secure a new carriage agreement with the NFL for the NFL Network or the NFL RedZone Channel, although it did so for DIRECTV, the satellite TV service. (DIRECTV still carries the NFL Network, and has a RedZone Channel.)
“The NFL Network and Red Zone Channel remain available to all fans on DIRECTV,” AT&T said in a statement then. “However, as we continue to manage content costs, we could not reach an agreement with the NFL to continue to carry their channels on U-verse TV and DirecTV Now.”
At the time, AT&T was desperately seeking a way to make Directv Now (name changed later to AT&T TV, and then again last month to DIRECTV Stream) financially viable. After the company was forced to raise prices to meet the rising cost of acquiring programming, subscribers began fleeing the service in droves. DIRECTV Now, which once had nearly two million subs, fell under one million.
So AT&T concluded that it could no longer justify carrying the NFL Network, which has relatively high carriage fees compared to some other channels.
AT&T was also uncertain if it would continue offering the NFL Sunday Ticket with the league considering employing an opt-out clause that would permit it to sell the rights to another company. The NFL ultimately decided not to go with the opt-out, but it was a contentious time between AT&T and the league.
But now two years later, DIRECTV Stream is part of a separate company jointly owned by AT&T and the private equity firm, TPG. (The company also includes U-verse and DIRECTV’s satellite TV service.) The new DIRECTV management team is busily assessing its next moves, including whether to bid for the next Sunday Ticket contract after the current one expires following the 2022 season. The league is hoping to wrap up negotiations for the next agreement by February 2022, according to a CNBC report.
Consequently, I suspect that we won’t see DIRECTV Stream resume carrying the NFL Network until DIRECTV determines how to proceed with the Sunday Ticket. The NFL Network carriage would likely be part of an overall strategy rather than negotiated separately.
What would that mean for football fans in 2021? You probably won’t see the NFL Network on DIRECTV Stream this season.
Sorry I can’t be more hopeful, George. But maybe next year.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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Because it’s run by AT&T, the very worst of the TV streaming, with the very worst channels, including only bare minimum of the local channels! Don’t win customers over that way!
Very dissatisfied customer!
Thank you, PS for the clarification about the missing NFL Network on Directv Stream. I have been a subscriber since AT&T TV first offered a plan. As a big NFL fan, I’m very disappointed. The cost of my plan has gone up nearly 50% since then and I’m seriously considering other options.
Won’t be using their service then..oh and the plan prices are friggin’ RIDICULOUS!!!
I recently canceled my subscription with Directv Stream and I am going with another streaming service because I cannot watch the NFL football games with my NFL Network subscription. I pay $130 a month and additional $100 for NFL Network for the year and I only can see game highlights. I will never subscribe to Directv anything again. HORRIBLE SERVICE. They continue to find ways to charge more for their streaming services but continue to decrease in channels they offer.
AT&T has no regards for customers that love the nfl. Shame on you AT&T now Direct Stream . Direct tv and at&t both are horrible to meeting customer needs! Shame on you both for not carrying nfl network !
Lmao sure. Fubo and Hulu don’t even offer local sports to Bally sports customers. You keep on bashing them though.
This is the problem with cord cutting: This streaming service has “These” channels, but that streaming service has “Those” channels, but you can’t get those channels separately on your own without still tying it to a cable provider or streaming provider’s service. For me: Los Angeles based: I can get NFL network and just about everything else “EXCEPT Bally’s Sports (for Angels, kings, ducks” on Hulu Live TV. I can get Bally’s on Direct Stream plus the spectrum regionals to also get Dodgers and Lakers. but can’t get NFL Channel. I can get ALL of it on spectrum stream, but spectrum streaming is crap always pauses in the middle to catch up, and video tends to bug out on live tv especially sports (nor does it have a android play store app for Chromecast). So i’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t as a sports fan. and ultimately have to suck it up and deal with traditional cable service via a cable box if I want all my sports in one option…….. and its always the same thing, the cable provider blaming the channel, and the channel blaming the cable provider for broken down negotiations for rights……and WE suffer. If I could subscribe to bally’s sports directly without a streaming provider tied to it, and the same for nfl network, and especially the same for NFL Sunday ticket, I would do it in a heartbeat……..