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Report: DirecTV Unlikely to Renew Sunday Ticket Deal in Current Form

Jason Gurwin

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, AT&T is still uncertain that they will renew their current deal with the National Football League for NFL Sunday Ticket, the league’s out-of-market package. The league’s deal with DirecTV expires in 2022, with the pay-TV service paying $1.5 billion annually to carry the package.

In the deal’s current form, DirecTV can only offer the out-of-market package to satellite subscribers and those who can’t access DirecTV service like apartment dwellers and students. While there was talk of the league opting-out of a deal this season to offer a more affordable streaming plan, and the league unwilling to forgo the $1.5 billion annually that they get paid by DirecTV for the exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket.

In an interview with the WSJ earlier this week, now it seems like DirecTV is balking at a new deal when it expires. AT&T COO John Sankey says, “there’s less profitability to support the decision. It becomes less critical to the business over time.” But according to Stankey, DirecTV wouldn’t completely be against joining forces with another service if it was less costly for a non-exclusive arrangement.

The price of NFL Sunday Ticket has gotten outrageous, especially in the world of cord-cutting. Unless you’re a student who can get the service for just $100 a year, the cheapest option is almost $300 ($73.49 month) — and nearly $400 ($99 a month) if you also want the Red Zone and Fantasy Zone channels.

While it hasn’t become easier to stream out-of-market games, the league has been aggressive in making local and nationally televised games more accessible to fans. Besides streaming Thursday Night Football on Amazon, the NFL has been streaming all in-market games on mobile and tablet (via NFL and Yahoo! properties) for free without the need of a cable subscription.

They have also created a mobile streaming plan for NFL RedZone in the NFL App for only $5.99 a month. There was hope that a streaming service, like ESPN+, DAZN, Amazon, or YouTube, would take on the streaming rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until 2022 to see if that happens.

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