NFL Lengthens Its Deal With Direct TV
DirecTV and the NFL have worked out a deal to extend the satellite provider's exclusive contract through 2014, two years beyond the current deal. The NFL will get $1 billion a year from DirecTV under the new deal, a $300,000 bump from its current deal, which means football fans who have gotten used to paying an arm and a leg for Sunday Ticket now will have to get used to throwing in a kidney as well.
DirecTV is the only company that has ever had the rights to what's arguably the most valuable "speciality" sports product on TV. While its questionable how much money it makes on Sunday Ticket directly because of the huge check it cuts to the NFL, Sunday Ticket does give the satellite company a huge selling point in attracting customers like me, who can't imagine making it through football season with only three games to watch on a normal Sunday afternoon.
The deal does have something for those who can't get DirecTV. In the new deal, the NFL also has the right to eventually offer those fans the option of buying Sunday Ticket for their computer, although they will have to prove that they cannot get DirecTV at their house That likely won't start until 2012, and there's no word on pricing, but it might be worth planting trees now on the southwest part of your yard if you know that you're stuck with cable so you'll be ready when it does roll out.
There is good news for people who are stuck with cable--the Red Zone channel will eventually be offered for a fee to other television providers. While it won't show all of any other game, it jumps from game to game, allowing fans to watch the good parts of almost all of the early games at the same time.