After Sunday Ticket Issues, Should NFL Fans Be Concerned when Package Goes Streaming-Only?
Week 2 of this season’s NFL action is in the books, and while some fans are trying to get through their Mondays following a painful loss while others are celebrating last-second victories, many viewers are just feeling frustrated. During Week 1, a large number of football fans faced technical difficulties, including messages that incorrectly stated the customer was inside an NFL stadium, and therefore blacked out from the games they wanted to watch.
Unfortunately, issues continued this week for NFL Sunday Ticket, the league’s out-of-market package available exclusively through DIRECTV. Many fans discovered that during the early slate of games on Sunday, logging in prompted an error message that said “resource unavailable,” and that no games would load. Customers took to Twitter and other social media outlets to register their frustration with the lack of functionality. Sunday Ticket is supposed to allow subscribers to watch all out-of-market NFL games.
America vs. NFL Sunday Ticket. pic.twitter.com/MXCchLsI0k— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 18, 2022
Business idea. NFL Sunday Ticket but it actually works on Sundays.— Will Hershey (@maybebullish) September 18, 2022
This is the last year that DIRECTV owns the broadcast rights to Sunday Ticket, and with Apple and Amazon believed to be the leading contenders to take over in 2023, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that he believes that sometime this fall, the league will announce that the package will move to streaming for next season.
After the $1 billion that Prime Video paid for “Thursday Night Football,” at least one Twitter user joked that the e-commerce monolith had already executed a sudden takeover from DIRECTV.
Did Amazon just offer the NFL enough money for Sunday Ticket to demand an immediate “cease and desist” from DirecTV?— Spotrac (@spotrac) September 18, 2022
So with all of the issues that have befallen NFL programming this season, should customers be concerned about the future of the Sunday Ticket package when it moves to a streaming-only format? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but the answer is likely no. For one thing, despite issues for some customers, Amazon’s debut of “TNF” on Prime Video was mostly a success. Although some fans reported glitches in the first half, such as audio not lining up with video and buffering issues, many others reported no technical issues whatsoever. NFL fans were also enamored with the various simultaneous camera angles offered to viewers by the “TNF” feed.
Count me in on the Madden-style All-22 view on Prime. Really slick. #TNF— Michael Grey (@TheMichaelGrey) September 16, 2022
Amazon is doing everything that it can to position itself well to win the bid for Sunday Ticket, even with Google reportedly entered the fray alongside Apple. Amazon is pouring huge amounts of resources into its weekly broadcast, striking deals with sports-betting partners, and running a rotating set of simultaneous streams in the style of ESPN’s “ManningCast.”
If the online retailer does win the rights to Sunday Ticket, Amazon’s experience with “Thursday Night Football” should serve the streamer well, and the company will undoubtedly be no less determined to give fans a good experience for their money.