By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I keep seeing posts from DIRECTV on Twitter and other places that say you can order the NFL Sunday Ticket if you’re a DIRECTV subscriber. How can that be? YouTube and Google have it! DIRECTV doesn’t have it anymore, right? — Clark, Amarillo, Texas.
Clark, as you note, Google last December captured the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket starting with the 2023 season after it was an exclusive on DIRECTV for 28 seasons. The tech giant will offer the Ticket’s Sunday afternoon out-of-market games on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels.
However, although DIRECTV lost the Ticket’s rights, the company does seem to suggest in social media posts and other forums that it can still offer the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. We’re not talking about bars and restaurants; DIRECTV retained the rights to offer the Ticket to commercial venues. We’re talking the residential business. For instance, here’s an X post (yes, used to be a tweet on Twitter) last week from DIRECTV:
NFL Sunday Ticket will still be available to DIRECTV customers through YouTube Primetime as a separate add-on for the 2023 season. For further assistance, please send us a DM.
— DIRECTV Help (@DIRECTVhelp) August 15, 2023
Did DIRECTV make a deal with Google to offer the Sunday Ticket to its home subscribers? Answer: No. But although DIRECTV lost the Ticket’s rights, both DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream subscribers can still watch the Ticket using their DIRECTV-supplied receivers. How is that possible?
DIRECTV’s new Gemini set-top comes with the YouTube app pre-loaded. The wireless box allows customers to watch all their satellite programming and apps such as Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and YouTube without getting a similar device such as Roku or Fire TV. 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. So if you’re a DIRECTV subscriber and have the Gemini set-top connected to the Internet, you can watch the Sunday Ticket on YouTube Primetime Channels using your DIRECTV receiver. (Note that while the Gemini is provided for free, there’s a $15 a month advanced receiver fee for both satellite and Internet customers who get one. See this page for more details.)
DIRECTV Stream subscribers can also access the YouTube app on either the legacy AT&T set-top or the new Gemini box. To reiterate, you will need to connect the DIRECTV Gemini box to the Internet to watch the Ticket. You won’t be able to use the satellite portion of the DIRECTV receiver to get the Ticket. But DIRECTV is correct in saying that you can use your DIRECTV receiver to watch the Ticket.
Clark, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann