Over the summer, the NFL and DirecTV agreed to move the league’s option to opt-out of their exclusive deal with the satellite company from this fall to next spring.
In a report by The Sports Business Journal, they shared that the deal was made to test the viability of streaming NFL Sunday Ticket. Before the season started, DIRECTV NOW customers in Boston, Hartford, Los Angeles, Louisville, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio were able to subscribe to the NFL out-of-market package.
Previously, only DirecTV satellite customers and those in dorms or apartments without access to satellite could subscribe to the streaming version of NFL Sunday Ticket.
While the DirecTV and the NFL deal for NFL Sunday Ticket lasts until 2022 at $1.5 billion annually, it was expected that the league would opt-out after this season. Much of that is to explore other options to stream NFL Sunday Ticket.
The league has been aggressive in bringing their games online. 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.
The one missing piece for all streamers though has been the ability to stream the league’s out-of-market package. This spring, it will become more clear what the future of out-of-market streaming will be for NFL fans.