By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
DIRECTV, which is not carrying the NFL Sunday Ticket for the first time since 1994, is offering new customers $400 in Visa cards if they subscribe to a DIRECTV base programming package and separately buy the football package from YouTube which now has the rights. To get the Visa cards, the new subscriber must show proof of the Sunday Ticket purchase. Once that’s done, and the customer is signed up for the base DIRECTV package, he or she will receive $400 in two Visa Reward cards within three billing cycles.

The offer is good until October 2, 2023, and the new customer must pay for the Sunday Ticket separately. The rules note that neither YouTube nor the NFL is part of the promotion. “From us to you. Access NFL Sunday Ticket from YouTube and get up to $400 in Visa Reward Cards!” DIRECTV says on its site’s home page.

YouTube TV is now charging $299 for the base Sunday Ticket while YouTube Primetime Channels’ base Ticket plan costs $399. The Ticket bundle with the NFL RedZone included costs $40 extra with both plans. While the Visa cards are not the same as cash, they arguably provide a reasonable replacement for the out-of-pocket expense for the football package although you will have to wait three billing cycles to receive them. (It appears from the rules that the Ticket purchase must come from YouTube, not YouTube TV. The TV Answer Man has asked DIRECTV for a clarification and will update this story if we get one. Update: A DIRECTV spokesman says you can subscribe to the Ticket either through YouTube or YouTube TV.)

The least expensive DIRECTV base plan, called Entertainment, costs $64.99 a month with a two-year price guarantee. However, new customers must sign a two-year contract which has a termination penalty of $20 a month for every month left if you cancel early.

DIRECTV has lost 13 million subscribers since AT&T purchased it in 20015. (The telco sold a 30 percent stake in DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV Stream to private equity firm, TPG, a year ago.) The loss of the Sunday Ticket could trigger more defections and DIRECTV may be hoping that the two-year price guarantee and the $400 Visa offer will keep those departures at a minimum. You can learn more about the $400 Visa offer here.

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— Phillip Swann