By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –Follow on Facebook & X.
Former Sony employee. More than 30 years as a TV journalist.

TV Answer Man, I read the story about DIRECTV offering the Sunday Ticket but how is that possible? No wonder the NFL had a problem with this advertising claim. Can you explain this to me? Many thanks, Swanni! — Claire, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Why Did the NFL Object to the Travis Kelce Ad?

Claire, there’s a lot to unpack here so let’s get started. First, the NFL registered a complaint with the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division regarding DIRECTV’s marketing claim that you could access the NFL Sunday Ticket on its Gemini satellite receivers. The NAD ruled in favor of the NFL and DIRECTV responded that it would modify its ads (featuring Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce) to say a subscription to YouTube is needed. As everyone knows by now, Google’s YouTube services now have the Sunday Ticket after it was an exclusive on DIRECTV for 28 years.

But how could DIRECTV say that you could get the Sunday Ticket on its receivers if it’s now an exclusive on YouTube?

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How to Watch the Sunday Ticket on a DIRECTV Receiver

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.)

What Did DIRECTV Do Wrong?

The problem with the DIRECTV ad was that the satcaster didn’t explain that you needed to subscribe to the Ticket via YouTube once you accessed the app on its satellite receiver. The league charged that DIRECTV’s ads left the impression that you could subscribe to the Ticket through DIRECTV. And the NAD agreed with the league’s position.

Claire, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than three decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television. See the bio for Phillip Swann here.