TV Answer Man, DIRECTV’s streaming of the Sunday Ticket has sucked for two straight weeks. Don’t you think the NFL will look at this and reconsider the plan to give the next Sunday Ticket deal to a streaming company like Apple or Amazon? Isn’t it obvious that streaming sucks and it can’t be depended on? — Julio, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Julio, DIRECTV’s streaming edition of the NFL Sunday Ticket has been a nightmare for viewers for the first two weeks of the season with recurring technical issues such as login difficulties, error messages and buffering. The snafus have been so commonplace that the satcaster has had to deliver refunds to subscribers for both the first two weeks.
(DIRECTV’s Sunday Ticket satellite subscribers get free access to the streaming version as well; it’s also available to some non-DIRECTV subscribers as a separate subscription.)
But it should be reiterated here that the technical issues have not affected the satellite audience which has been able to watch the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games without any significant interruptions. It should also be noted again that this isn’t the first time that DIRECTV has had difficulty with the steaming version of the Ticket, as yours truly has documented over the years.
Considering this, you might think that NFL executives are sitting today in their Park Avenue offices and discussing how to find a non-streaming company to take over the Sunday Ticket when DIRECTV’s exclusive pact expires after the 2022 season. (DIRECTV has said it does not plan to bid to renew its exclusive rights.)
You might think that, but it wouldn’t be true.
The NFL is actually sitting there trying to figure out how to get even more money from a streaming company, such as Apple or Amazon, for the rights in 2023 and beyond.
Sure, Commissioner Roger Goodell understands that live streaming still has limitations now, but he and his team are willing to undergo some growing pains because the streaming companies are ready to pay far more than anyone else for the next Ticket contract. That’s what matters most to the NFL. As the fictional football super-agent Jerry Maguire once said:
If some fans get upset because their picture goes out, well, that’s too bad. They’ll come back because…it’s the NFL, the most popular sport in the nation. And the league likely believes, as others do, that live streaming will improve in the coming years. So get on board now when the price is right.
Goodell has said a decision on the next Ticket deal should come sometime this fall and news reports have said it’s likely between Apple and Amazon with ESPN+ possibly lurking on the outside. But whoever gets it, it will be a streaming company, Julio.
Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann