By Phillip Swann

The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

What Did the Ad Group Say About DIRECTV’s Travis Kelce Ads?

The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau has recommended that DIRECTV either discontinue suggesting its subscribers still have access to the NFL Sunday Ticket or modify that claim to disclose an additional subscription is needed. The group said DIRECTV has agreed to “comply with that decision.” DIRECTV issued this statement to The TV Answer Man this afternoon:

“We’re pleased the NAD recognized the access benefits available through DIRECTV Sports Central, including the ability for DIRECTV customers to easily find and watch pro football games broadcast through their DIRECTV package as well as 3rd party subscriptions. We will modify our existing disclaimer to comply with the NAD’s decision.”

The NAD ruling, which is not legally binding, comes in response to the NFL’s claim that DIRECTV engaged in “deceptive advertising” with a campaign featuring Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce saying DIRECTV subscribers can get “every game.” Kelce was referring to DIRECTV’s Sports Central feature which enables DIRECTV subscribers to access games on both apps and channels.

Why Did the NFL Object to DIRECTV’s Travis Kelce Ads?

However, the NAD said that DIRECTV did not make it clear in the Kelce ads that you need a Sunday Ticket subscription via YouTube to access the NFL games via the Sports Central menu. The NFL expressed concern that the ads left the impression that you could still get the Sunday Ticket directly from DIRECTV which held the rights for 28 years before Google’s YouTube took over this season.

“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 in early September.

The NAD agreed with the league’s contention but added that DIRECTV can continue to promote Sports Central.

“Although NAD recommended that DIRECTV modify or discontinue the above claims, NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes DIRECTV from making truthful and non-misleading claims about the benefits of DIRECTV Sports Central,” the NAD said in a release.

Why the NAD Decision Is Too Late

DIRECTV has little to lose in complying with the NAD recommendation now. The 2023 NFL season has just 10 weeks left which means that fewer people will subscribe to the Ticket during the rest of the season. DIRECTV benefitted most from the Kelce commercials in the lead up to the season’s first week and in the first month or so after the season began.

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— Phillip Swann