By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am a DIRECTV subscriber but I am thinking of getting YouTube TV before June 6 so I can get the Sunday Ticket at a discount. Do you think DIRECTV will add the RedZone channel this year? If so, I probably will stay with them. The RedZone channel would be enough football for me, I think. What is your take here? — Gary, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gary, YouTube TV yesterday said YTTV subscribers can get the base 2023 Sunday Ticket plan for $249 if they order by June 6. The Ticket bundle, which includes the NFL RedZone channel, is $289 for YouTube TV subs if they order by 6/6.
However, if YouTube TV subscribers don’t get the Ticket by June 6, the base price jumps to $349 and the bundle price rises to $389. Even worse, if you order the Sunday Ticket separately via YouTube’s Primetime Channels, which does not require a YouTube TV subscription, the presale base price is $349 for the season. If you wait until after June 6, the price jumps to $449.
YouTube Primetime Channels viewers will have to pay $389 for the Ticket bundle if they order by June 6 and a whopping $489 after June 6.
The June 6 deadline is a big one, particularly for DIRECTV customers who once subscribed to the Sunday Ticket via the satellite TV service. Should they cancel DIRECTV and get YouTube TV in the next six weeks so they can get that price break?
Several readers have said to me in the past 24 hours that they would be inclined to stay with DIRECTV if it carries the NFL RedZone channel. RedZone, which provides live look-ins at games when teams could be close to scoring, has become one of the most popular channels in sports over the last several years. Some fans say it’s a better value than the Ticket because it’s usually included in a programming package or as a $10 a month add-on plan.
But DIRECTV, which included a version of the RedZone channel in its Max Sunday Ticket package, no longer has the carriage rights to the channel. The satcaster lost the right to offer its own RedZone when it lost the Sunday Ticket to Google. (There were two RedZone channels – one for DIRECTV subscribers and one for everyone else that was produced by the NFL. The league’s version remains.)
So will DIRECTV add the NFL RedZone channel before the 2023 NFL season to soften the blow of the Ticket’s departure and keep football fans happy?
I checked in with a well-placed DIRECTV source today who said the company expects to add the RedZone channel in 2023. He added that DIRECTV has a strong understanding of how important it is to carry the channel because the Ticket is no longer available.
That sounds encouraging. However, as I noted earlier this week regarding DIRECTV’s 4K streaming plans, actions speak louder than words. DIRECTV’s negotiations with the NFL may not result in a deal.
It should also be emphasized that the RedZone is not the only issue on the table. DIRECTV Stream and the new DIRECTV via streaming service (with the new Gemini set-top) do not carry the NFL Network, either. So it should be a vigorous discussion.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes.
Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann