By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, DIRECTV says it’s still trying to get a deal to sell the Sunday Ticket in bars and restaurants. So are they also trying get a deal with Google to sell the Ticket to regular home subscribers? Or is that all over? — Chuck, Carmel, Indiana.
Chuck, the NFL announced this week that it had a winner in the Sunday Ticket bar and restaurant sweepstakes — and it was not DIRECTV. The league said it was giving the exclusive rights to provide the Ticket to commercial venues to a new company called EverPass Media, which is headed by two former DIRECTV executives, Derek Chang and Alex Kaplan. (The league retained the commercial rights when it awarded the residential Ticket rights last December to Google to stream on YouTube and YouTube TV.)
However, DIRECTV immediately said it hopes to continue serving its commercial clients by subleasing a rights deal with EverPass. (There’s precedent here. Amazon subleased its Thursday Night Football commercial business with multiple clients — DIRECTV, Cox and Dish for the 2022 season.)
So does that mean that DIRECTV may also be interested in negotiating a similar arrangement with Google to continue selling the Ticket to its residential subscribers? There’s reason to think that’s possible. Rob Thun, DIRECTV’s chief content officer, told CNET a year ago that the satcaster was interested in sharing the Ticket contract with whichever streaming service won the rights starting with the 2023 season.
“We bring a linear experience to the table as well as digital, but, you know, the large portion of our base is linear. And presumably, the other partners are going to be digital. So there’s a natural partnership to be had given our platforms, and whoever ultimately is the digital player who would take those rights,” Thun said.
And now that DIRECTV has publicly acknowledged it wants to partner with the commercial Ticket rights holder, why not the residential Ticket, too?
Well, Chuck, I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s my understanding that DIRECTV is not interested paying Google for the rights to resell the Ticket to home subscribers. While Thun may have suggested otherwise a year ago, things change and DIRECTV appears to have moved on.
However, the TV Answer Man has learned that DIRECTV Stream, the company’s live streaming service, actually has a way to provide the Sunday Ticket to its subscribers. The streamer’s proprietary set-top, which can be purchased with the service for $120 over 12 months, comes with a number of apps pre-loaded. And one of those apps is…YouTube.
Yes, DIRECTV Stream subscribers can watch the Sunday Ticket on their DIRECTV Stream set-tops by subscribing to it via the YouTube app sitting right there on the box. (Google is making the Ticket available on YouTube TV as an add-on package, but it can be purchased separately on YouTube’s Primetime Channels page.)
Unfortunately for DIRECTV’s satellite subscribers, their receivers do not include the YouTube app. They will have to subscribe to YouTube TV or YouTube using a different device, assuming they have access to a high-speed Internet service. (Not all DIRECTV customers do.)
Update: DIRECTV’s new Gemini set-top does come with YouTube pre-loaded.
Chuck, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann