If you are currently using DirecTV and NFL Sunday Ticket as a means to watch your favorite out-of-town professional football team, the following information could affect you—and your television-service provider—in the near future.
On Wednesday, DirecTV CFO Pat Doyle told reporters (via The Hollywood Reporter) that his company would consider pulling the plug on NFL Sunday Ticket—the popular satellite package that allows viewers to watch every NFL game on Sundays—from its programming ledger.
Here is what Doyle had to say, per The Hollywood Reporter:
Asked about the future of DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket amid rising sports costs, he said that if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package.
DirecTV's current deal with NFL Sunday Ticket doesn't expire until 2015, but the news should at least strike a nerve with those who use the sports bundle on Sundays in the fall.
As NFL.com's Dan Hanzus noted, competitive negotiations are just part of the process. Although the NFL would certainly be dissatisfied with negotiating a new deal with a different provider, there are plenty of carriers that would jump at the chance (Dish Network and Comcast, among others) to gain access to the NFL Sunday Ticket name.
DirecTV lowered the price of the package in April 2012 (via Bloomberg.com) in an attempt to broaden its audience and capitalize on the nearly 19.9 million (figure from 2012) subscribers that the package attracts each season.
However, the profit margins have not been great (per the Bloomberg piece), which is one of the reasons the company tried to lower the price and attract more business. The option to access NFL Sunday Ticket on a PlayStation 3 was also expected to attract younger audiences, but that has only furthered the potential decline in the relationship of the two entities (NFL and DirecTV).
What does this mean for you, the average NFL fan?
Well, things aren't looking good for DirecTV and the NFL. Although the current deal doesn't make you jump out of your seat to start getting plugged in about the next move the two sides intend to make, it also doesn't provide any sense of relief that you won't have to change service providers to continue subscribing.