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Will DIRECTV Keep the NFL Sunday Ticket?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (July 31, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I've had DIRECTV for years and it's the NFL Sunday Ticket that keeps me on board. What are the chances that DIRECTV will re-sign with the league for the package? -- Jay, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jay, for starters, the current DIRECTV-NFL Sunday Ticket deal ensures that the satcaster will have the exclusive rights to the Sunday package of games through the 2014 season. At least until the end of the 2014 season, you won't be able to get the Ticket from any other TV provider.

So what happens after that? Sports Business Journal reported yesterday that early talks for a new agreement between DIRECTV and the National Football League are underway. But the publication notes that the value of the deal has been "chipped away" because other TV providers now can get the Red Zone channel, which provides real-time coverage of games when the ball is inside the 20 yard line.

DIRECTV, which paid $1 billion annually for the Ticket in the 2009 contract that extends through the 2014 season, may be less willing to pony up the big bucks now.

The SBJ also reports that there's talk "
within league circles (that) there could be some sort of hybrid model to replace the DIRECTV exclusive arrangement for its Sunday Ticket package." DIRECTV has publicly hinted at that concept as well, suggesting it could carry the Ticket package but not as an exclusive, which would allow other TV providers to offer it, too.

No doubt that it will all come down to money and it should be noted that DIRECTV will have an exclusive 'window' to negotiate with the league until the end of the year. After that, any TV provider could try to secure the rights to the Ticket package following DIRECTV's exclusive arrangement through the 2014 season.

Over the years, DIRECTV has attracted gobs of subscribers because of the Ticket. But the satcaster's concern over rising programming costs could force it to share the Ticket with other TV providers after the 2014 season.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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