Chase Briscoe on Sept. 1, 2022.

In most of the broadcasting history of the NFL, Sunday morning and afternoon games have aired in various regional packages. 1970 in particular saw the split into NFC and AFC packages, which have most recently been held by Fox (since 1994) and CBS (since 1998). That means that fans living outside of a team’s primary market who have wanted to watch their games at home have usually had to buy the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market package, which has been available since 1994, primarily on DirecTV.  (But it’s run into some significant technical challenges recently, and is presumed to be heading to a streaming service next year).

While there have been plenty of complaints over the years about the NFL’s particular approach to out-of-market games, and even some lawsuits, most fans have long been aware of the regional broadcast approach. That’s even led to discussion of the regional maps each week. But this approach seemed rather new to one prominent fan who’s often involved in professional sports of his own on Sundays. That would be NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe.

On some levels, Briscoe (seen above during NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day on Sept. 1) has a point here. And he particularly has a point when it comes to the vastly-different setup of college football rights versus NFL rights; most college football games air on a specific national network without local blackouts (and while broadcast networks do sometimes show different regional games on different affiliates, that’s less common and less of an issue than it is in the NFL). It is much harder to follow an out-of-market NFL team each week than an out-of-market college one.

And the NFL’s out-of-market prices are higher than those in MLB, the NBA, or the NHL. And Briscoe made that point in a follow-up tweet. It doesn’t make much sense for him to buy the full Sunday Ticket package when he’s racing most Sundays, and even the NFL Network RedZone option might not be suitable for him. He was only commenting on this Sunday thanks to having the day off after participating in the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee Saturday.

But Briscoe’s incredulousness at the existence of regional packages and out-of-market viewers being forced into Sunday Ticket was still interesting, and unusual. It’s not like the NFL’s 2022 broadcast approach on that front is a recent change. But maybe it’s harder to be aware of that if you’re usually involved in sports of your own on Sunday.

And perhaps the upcoming deal (which has seen talk of cheaper single-team or single-game options versus “Buy the whole package”) will be more to Briscoe’s liking. Until then, though, on Sundays he’s off, if he insists on watching the Colts outside of their regular broadcast area (and without their games picked up more nationally), he’ll have to pony up for Sunday Ticket, head to a bar showing the game, or find some illicit stream of the game. Just like everyone else.

[Chase Briscoe on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.