Phillip Swann, editor of TV Answer Man, and the former editor of TVPredictions.com, is making several predictions for what will happen in the TV technology industry in 2022. His first prediction reveals which company, or companies, will get the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract after the current one with DIRECTV expires.
The NFL Sunday Ticket, which has been a DIRECTV exclusive since its launch in 1994, is the one of the most coveted products in the TV sports industry. Over the years, the package of out-of-market NFL Sunday afternoon games has generated millions of new subscribers for DIRECTV.
But the satcaster’s contract with the league expires after the 2022 season. So, will DIRECTV keep the Ticket or will a new streaming venture snare it, continuing the streaming industry’s initiative to supplant the traditional cable and satellite audience?
My prediction is…Yes and Yes.
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That’s right. I predict that the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract will be split between two companies — ESPN+ and DIRECTV.
The streaming service, which is owned by Disney, will offer the package to the growing number of Americans who want to watch sports online while DIRECTV will continue to provide it to dish owners who have limited access to high-speed Internet service, or simply prefer satellite over streaming. (Studies have indicated that as many as 40 million Americans do not have a reliable Internet service in their areas.)
By splitting the Ticket, the NFL can reach the largest number of viewers as well as generate the most revenue. (DIRECTV, which has lost five to six million subscribers over the last six years, may no longer be interested in paying the premium price for an exclusive arrangement when the current agreement expires. Disney would also benefit by including DIRECTV in the deal because it would slightly reduce its cost, and remove the headache of trying to sell the Ticket in rural areas and to bars and restaurants.)
While other streaming services such as Amazon, Apple and Peacock may be interested in the online Ticket, ESPN is best suited to deliver it to the consumer because of its vast experience with sports broadcasting and marketing as well as its ability to reach a wide and diverse group of consumers via ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+. (Disney owns all three.)
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There’s no doubt in my mind that ESPN+ can generate more Ticket subs than any other streaming service.
And that gives Disney greater motivation to secure the Ticket contract than some of its rivals such as Amazon.
I will also predict that the next contract will be issued in the week before the 2022 Super Bowl to give the league and the winning company (companies) maximum exposure.
Tell me what you think in the comments below, and come back early and often to TV Answer Man for more 2022 predictions.
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— Phillip Swann
That makes the most sense to me. You can never bet against the amount of money that Amazon can throw at something. But will they want it bad enough to outbid Disney, especially considering they just ponied up for Thursdays.
I’d add to your prediction that this contract could be shorter than some of the others. Maybe go shorter and allow for Amazon or Apple to get back in the action in say 5-8 years.
I agree that the Ticket will be divided into two different carriers. Just makes financial sense that the NFL will want the most eyeballs possible bringing the most possible dollars to the league.
Also agree the NFL will want to make sure as many people as possible know about the carrieers, ’22 Super Bowl seems like a great time to announce.
I would be very happy if DirecTV keeps the ticket. My experience with streaming services is poor to say the least. There channel offerings are incomplete and their channel guides and poor ability to navigate the channels makes it a poor experience.
“….the package of out-of-market NFL Sunday afternoon games has generated millions of new subscribers for DIRECTV.”
“…(DIRECTV, which has lost five to six million subscribers over the last six years,…”
Well, which is it? Is it a cash cow, drawing in scores of subscribers, or a superfluous bauble where most customers could take it or leave it. I, personally, don’t see Directv reupping for anything near what it is paying now for this loss leader.
DIRECTV needs about 5 mil subscribers to break even on Sunday Ticket… they have about 2 Million. They are losing money on this and use it to draw new subscribers in. I don’t see them out bidding Amazon or Apple. WHO can get more customers then Directv can seeing how Directv is basically losing customers at a high rate due to their pricing. TV is and will continue to become and ala cart with networks selling their streaming packages. Smart money is on selling games rather then packages. You can sell a game for 8 bucks or less and make more money doing it that way. Of course there is also the fact that as the NFL gets greedier they can turn customers off who refuse to pay. As everyone knows the NFL has lost ratings also. Greed is a dangerous thing…. it’s all good when it’s flowing but not so good when it’s not.