TV Answer Man, my neighbor said he got an e-mail from DIRECTV saying he will get the Sunday Ticket for free this season. He has had DIRECTV for several years, but so have I and I didn’t get an e-mail saying I will get the Ticket plan for free. Do you know what is happening here? Could my neighbor be confused or something? Is everyone getting the Sunday Ticket for free? — Tommy, Deale, Maryland. 

Tommy, your neighbor is probably right, but that doesn’t mean everyone is getting the 2022 NFL Sunday Ticket for free, or that you will get it for free. Let me explain.

Several DIRECTV subscribers last week posted messages on social media sites saying they received e-mails from the satcaster indicating they will get the Sunday Ticket’s Max package for free during the 2022 season. The Max plan, which includes the RedZone Channel and Fantasy league channel, normally costs $395. (The Ticket’s base plan, which costs $293, does not include those two channels. Both plans include access to the streaming edition of the Ticket.)

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“DIRECTV is going all out and giving you the 2022 season of NFL Sunday Ticket Max on us! Why? Because we’re crazy — crazy about football, crazy about sports and crazy about the loyal fans like you who make the game what it is,” the DIRECTV message stated.

The e-mails generated a significant reaction on social media with some DIRECTV subscribers saying the popular football package was being gifted to every existing customer while others said they hadn’t received the e-mail.

However, there’s a reason for the confusion. For the last few years, DIRECTV has provided the Sunday Ticket for free to select existing customers, but not everyone. The satcaster has not revealed why some get it while others don’t, but you can bet that a sophisticated algorithm is at work. DIRECTV offers the Ticket for free to certain longtime, high-paying subscribers to keep them from canceling.

(Note: The free Sunday Ticket for existing customers also is different from DIRECTV including the plan in certain packages for new customers, which it has done for several years.)

If you didn’t get the e-mail, you might try calling DIRECTV and asking for the Retention department. In previous years, some DIRECTV subscribers have reported that they received the Ticket for free after simply asking for it.

Tommy, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann