By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, did you see that the NFL has charged DIRECTV with deceptive advertising because of their ads sayng they have every game and you can get the Sunday Ticket through them? What’s the deal here? — Michael, Kansas City.
Michael, as The TV Answer Man has reported a few times in the last several months, DIRECTV has been telling subscribers that they can order the NFL Sunday Ticket through their DIRECTV Gemini set-tops because the receivers include a YouTube app. (Google’s YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels now has the residential rights to the Ticket after it was a DIRECTV exclusive for 28 seasons.) Using the YouTube app, the DIRECTV subscribers can order the standalone version of the NFL Sunday Ticket via YouTube Primetime Channels.
“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’s customer service team on X (formerly Twitter) told one subscriber on August 15.
In addition, a recent DIRECTV advertising campaign featuring Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has the football star saying that DIRECTV subscribers can get “every game.”
Since DIRECTV had the Sunday Ticket, which includes every out-of-market NFL Sunday afternoon game for 28 seasons, you can imagine that some consumers might be confused about whether the satcaster still had the package if they saw either the social media posts or the Kelce commercials. Well, the NFL can imagine that and in fact says consumers have come to them asking if DIRECTV still has the Ticket. The league is accusing DIRECTV of “deceptive advertising.”
“YouTube and YouTube ITV are the only place to go for fans at home wanting to subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket. We are aware of consumer confusion resulting from advertising in the marketplace. The NFL wants its millions of fans to know where to get NFL Sunday Ticket and that we stand against deceptive advertising,” NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller said in a statement released today.
The TV Answer Man has asked DIRECTV for a comment and will report back here if we get one. But it’s unclear if the league plans to take legal or other actions against DIRECTV or if it will be satisfied with calling the company out in the public statement. Ironically, DIRECTV announced today that the league has awarded it the rights to distribute the Sunday Ticket to residential subscribers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because YouTube TV has notified the league it’s not ready to do so.
Update: DIRECTV issued this statement: ““If consumers are confused, it’s because where to watch which football games is more fragmented than ever. Our advertising is clear, and just as we’ve done for 30 years we’ll continue to deliver access to the national, regional and local sports our customers want without having to switch inputs on their TV or leaving the DIRECTV experience.”
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— Phillip Swann