Every few years, cable customers are allowed to feel just a bit melancholy, as the NFL continues to reject their business for the NFL Sunday Ticket product. It appears that will again be the case, as the next negotiations seem to be wrapping up on a long-term deal. The NFL will remain satellite-only.
The league and DirecTV are closing in on a new deal for the satellite provider to continue to be the exclusive home of the network’s out-of-market viewing service according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Daily. A “broad agreement” has apparently been reached, but numerous details — ancillary programming, NFL Network carriage, Rich Eisen’s new DirecTV talk show — have been bogging down the two sides in terms of getting the deal 100% done. AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV has also complicated things. The deal will likely be for a total of $1.3 to $1.4 billion.
Said deal will take the league into the next decade, though it’s not clear when exactly that is. It will likely be at the same time as when ESPN (2021) and CBS, Fox and NBC (2022) end their deals. Sunday Ticket negotiations wrapping up means that the lone long-term media rights negotiation left for the NFL is what to do with Thursday Night Football, which is only contracted to CBS (in association with NFL Network) through the end of this season. The NFL’s revenue stream from mere media rights deals will hit $7 billion a season.
2014 will be the NFL’s 20th season with DirecTV, and it will remain a big reason for many who choose satellite over cable. It still dictates bar culture across the country on Sunday afternoons. The NFL remains all-powerful and all-wealthy, and Sunday Ticket’s exclusivity remains a big part of that empire.