TV Answer Man, I read your article about the next contract for the NFL Sunday Ticket that said the NFL may need DIRECTV to continue providing service to bars and restaurants. Is there really that much money in that business? Couldn’t the NFL just do without the bars and restaurants and go all streaming to the home? — Bob, Toledo, Ohio.
Bob, DIRECTV has been providing the Sunday Ticket to bars and restaurants for a few decades and therefore is best positioned to continue that service in the future. That doesn’t mean the bars and restaurants couldn’t get a streaming edition of the Ticket if that was all that was available, but it could create a number of complications, including safeguarding the stream against piracy as well as offering streams of games that run 30-60 seconds behind those on cable and satellite.
The satcaster is also best suited to deliver the Sunday Ticket to rural residents, many of whom don’t have access to reliable high-speed Internet service. (Some reports say as many as 40 million Americans fall into this category.)
So there’s little doubt (to me anyway) that the league would like DIRECTV to at least continue providing the Ticket in rural areas, and to bars and restaurants.
But is the bar/restaurant revenue significant enough to influence the NFL’s decision regarding who should get the next Sunday Ticket contract? (DIRECTV’s exclusive agreement for the Ticket expires after the 2022 season.)
We don’t know how many bars and restaurants actually subscribe to the Sunday Ticket, but we do know how much they pay if they do and it’s significant. According to DIRECTV’s web site, a bar/restaurant with a Fire Code Occupancy (FCO) of 101-200 must pay $6,000 a season for the Ticket. Owners of establishments with a FCO of 201-350 must pay $8,500; those with 351-500 must pay $12,350 while those with places that can serve 501-750 people must pay $13,700.
The rate goes even higher: If you have a bar/restaurant that can serve 751-1000 people, you would have to pay $19,000 for the Sunday Ticket; $28,125 for a place with a FCO of 1,001-1500; and $37,500 for an establishment with a FCO of 1,501 to 2,000.
Finally, if you have a mega place that can serve between 2,001 and 5,000 people, you’ll need to fork over $78,000!
You can see from those figures that the bar/restaurant business can be quite lucrative, and not one to easily dismiss as I see some industry analysts do. That’s why I believe it will be an important factor in the league’s ultimate decision on how to award the next contract. The NFL will need a ready-made plan to serve the bar and restaurant crowd as well as home viewers.
Bob, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann