By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, did I just hear right? Did DIRECTV just lose the NFL Sunday Ticket business for bars and restaurants? How can that happen? — Shane, Laramie, Wyoming. 

Shane, when the NFL announced last December that it was awarding the residential rights for the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract to Google (YouTube, YouTube TV), DIRECTV signaled that it was still interested in keeping the rights for commercial establishments, such as bars and restaurants. The league said it was retaining the commercial rights and would open them up for bidding.

Well, last night, the NFL announced that it had a winner in the Sunday Ticket bar sweepstakes — and it’s not DIRECTV. The league said it was giving the exclusive rights to a new company called EverPass Media, which is headed by two former DIRECTV executives. (Derek Chang and Alex Kaplan.)

The decision has to rattle DIRECTV considering that it seemed to be the odds-on favorite to retain the bar and restaurant business. The fact that its former executives have poached the lucrative commercial business doesn’t soften the blow, either.

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However, DIRECTV tells NextTV that it hopes to continue serving its commercial clients by subleasing a rights deal with EverPass. The NFL’s press release would suggest that’s a real possibility. (Amazon subleases its Thursday Night Football commercial business with multiple clients — DIRECTV, Cox and Dish for the 2022 season.)

“Going forward, the service will be available on a non-exclusive basis through all participating cable and satellite providers,” the NFL statement reads.

But for now, DIRECTV’s relationship with the Sunday Ticket has been completely severed after 29 years of carrying the package as an exclusive. The satcaster still has its multi-year deal with Amazon to provide TNF to commercial venues, but it remains to be seen if the Ticket’s departure will diminish that effort.

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— Phillip Swann