By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

Pay TV providers add and subtract channels all the time. But DIRECTV’s addition of the NFL RedZone channel is arguably the most important the satcaster has ever made, at least in the last several years.

The channel doesn’t even operate eight months out of the year. But the NFL RedZone, which provides look-ins at multiple NFL games on Sunday afternoons, has become a popular alternative to the NFL Sunday Ticket. Yes, the Sunday Ticket that DIRECTV no longer carries exclusively because it lost the rights to Google, starting with the 2023 season.

A few million football fans who subscribed to DIRECTV over the years specifically to get the Ticket might now stick around because of the growing consensus that the RedZone is just as good. And if you factor in the differences in cost, it might even be better. The Ticket’s price now starts at $299 on Google’s YouTube TV, but you can get the NFL RedZone on DIRECTV (and DIRECTV Stream) as part of the $14.99 a month Sports Pack add-on.

The NFL season lasts five months (September to January) so the RedZone will set you back just $75, one-fourth of the Ticket’s price.

And if you are a DIRECTV subscriber, and you still want your Sunday Ticket, it will be available via YouTube Primetime Channels (YouTube app) on the satcaster’s new Gemini set-top.

DIRECTV seems to have played what once looked like a losing hand into four of a kind. And for a company that has lost more than 12 million subscribers in the last eight years, it needed a win. Badly.

If I were DIRECTV, the only thing I would do differently is make the NFL RedZone channel a separate a la carte offering for $10.99 a month. That’s what YouTube TV charges for its Sports Plus plan which has 15 channels including the NFL RedZone.

However, DIRECTV has added it to the Sports Pack, which has more than 40 channels, and therefore requires a higher fee to help offset the cost of acquiring all those channels. I think DIRECTV would generate more subs and revenue overall by keeping the RedZone separate.

What do you think of DIRECTV adding the NFL RedZone? You can offer your comments below.

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— Phillip Swann