December 16, 2013
Don’t worry, DirecTV fans. NFL Sunday Ticket won’t be jumping to Google’s YouTube network following next season, or anywhere else. Instead, the National Football League and DirecTV are close to signing a new deal that will keep Sunday games on the satellite service for many years to come, according to Variety. Back in August and September, the NFL reportedly shopped the Sunday package to other satellite and broadcast providers — including YouTube. At the time, CNET had suggested Apple be the one to sign a distribution contract with the NFL. In an August op-ed, I agreed. I noted:
The Apple TV, like DirecTV is a hardware-based service. As such, Apple could give the NFL a cut of each box sold, in addition to part of the subscription fee … … More importantly, Apple could offer mobile service exclusively on the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. This exclusivity is the main reason I think the NFL would find Apple to be a better choice.The NFL "ultimately went back" to DirecTV in recent weeks. DirecTV CEO Michael White said “We’ve had very, very constructive conversations with the NFL, but it’s complex. I’m very optimistic we will get an exclusive deal done on NFL Sunday Ticket.” The current contract between the NFL and DirecTV, worth $4 billion, expires at the end of 2014. Approximately 10 percent of DirecTV’s 20 million U.S. subscribers pay $300 per year for the NFL package, according to the company. The NFL recently signed record-breaking TV rights pacts with Fox, CBS, and NBC to broadcast games through 2022. The pact is worth $3 billion a year in total to the league. See also: DirecTV Expands Live TV Channel Lineup, Activates Remote Control On iPhone.