TV Answer Man, I know this is the last year for DIRECTV to have the NFL Sunday Ticket so will DIRECTV Stream offer it, too? They are the same company, right? — Tony, Las Vegas.
Tony, you’re right. DIRECTV Stream, the latest name for the old AT&T TV, the multi-channel, live streaming service, is owned by DIRECTV, the satellite TV service. They have the same management team and ownership structure (70 percent owned by AT&T; 30 percent owned by TPG, a private equity firm.)
However, the TV services have some differences in the channels they carry and that includes the NFL Sunday Ticket. The package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games remains a DIRECTV satellite exclusive.
I’ve received several e-mails in the last few months from readers who can’t understand why DIRECTV wouldn’t allow the DIRECTV Stream audience to subscribe. They say they don’t want to install a satellite dish on their properties, but they would happily sign up for DIRECTV Stream, which does not require a dish, if it offered the Sunday Ticket.
But there’s a good reason why DIRECTV Stream doesn’t carry the Ticket.
“Our rights with the NFL are for satellite only,” a DIRECTV spokesman told me last year.
Those with good memories might recall that DIRECTV Now, the initial name for DIRECTV Stream before it was changed to AT&T TV and then DIRECTV Stream, offered the Sunday Ticket to seven markets in 2018 (Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Hartford, and Louisville). But the spokesman told me that was a one-time test authorized by the league. At this point, DIRECTV does not have the authority to do that again.
You might also note that DIRECTV allows university students, consumers who can’t get a satellite dish at their residents, and others in select markets, to subscribe separately to the Sunday Ticket’s streaming plan. Well, the league is okay with that offering, but does not approve of a blanket subscription service that would be available to all DIRECTV Stream customers.
Last note: We don’t know yet if DIRECTV will carry the Sunday Ticket beyond the 2022 season; its exclusive contract with the league expires after this season. But news reports have indicated that Apple and Amazon are in the lead to secure the next contract with DIRECTV, perhaps, only retaining the rights to offer the Ticket to bars and restaurants.
Tony, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann