By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I have a dilemma and I think many DIRECTV subscribers do. I am thinking of switching to YouTube TV by June 6 to get the $100 discount for the NFL Sunday Ticket. But I want to stay with DIRECTV which I have had for 10 years. If DIRECTV would just add the NFL RedZone channel, I would stay with them. That would be enough for this football fan. My question is do you think DIRECTV will add the RedZone before June 6? — Bruce, Solomons, Maryland.

Bruce, in the last few weeks, I have received several e-mails from readers outlining the same dilemma. They are longtime NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers who are considering switching to YouTube TV to get the football package now that the live streaming service has the exclusive rights.

The decision has become more urgent as we get closer to the June 6 expiration for YouTube TV’s $100 discount for the Ticket. If you don’t subscribe to YouTube TV by 6/6, the base price jumps from $249 to $349 and the bundle price (RedZone channel included) rises from $289 to $389.

Most of the reader e-mails say that if DIRECTV would add the NFL RedZone channel, they would stay with the satcaster. While they would miss the Ticket, the RedZone, which provides live look-ins of multiple games during the regular season, would satisfy their football fix for the season. Some fans even 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.

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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.)



Last month, I talked to a well-placed DIRECTV source 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.

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But that’s no guarantee that it will happen. It’s also no guarantee that it will happen before June 6. DIRECTV is obviously aware of the 6/6 deadline but the company isn’t likely to accelerate any talks with the NFL – and possibly overpay for the RedZone rights — because of it. Carriage deals are usually multi-year and companies need to exact the best terms possible to protect its investment long-term.

It should also be noted 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!

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— Phillip Swann