There will be no pudding strikes required this year. After a report earlier this week from Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand that NFL Sunday Ticket was unlikely to be available in U.S. unincorporated territories Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands until at least November thanks to Sunday Ticket rightsholder YouTube saying they couldn’t launch there until then, and saying that previous rightsholder DirecTV couldn’t offer those rights to consumers in the interim under a DirecTV/NFL proposal, YouTube walked that back Friday. Here’s how Ourand tweeted that Friday:
DirecTV picks up NFL Sunday Ticket rights to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
SBJ's story: https://t.co/re7Ml1Tl1j
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 8, 2023
DIRECTV Puerto Rico will continue to be the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket to its residential satellite customers across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NFL Sunday Ticket is the NFL’s subscription package that includes out-of-market Sunday afternoon regular-season NFL games broadcast on FOX and CBS, and will be available in time for the first Sunday of NFL games on Sept. 10. DIRECTV for BUSINESS will also distribute NFL Sunday Ticket to bars, restaurants, hotel lounges, retail shops and other venues in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DIRECTV Puerto Rico has offered NFL Sunday Ticket into the islands since 2008, and its residential customers will now continue to enjoy access to all the NFL out-of-market games via satellite. Local fans will also enjoy additional live in market NFL action featured on broadcast network affiliates that DIRECTV Puerto Rico offers into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are very unique in having avid fans for all the different teams across the NFL,” said Belkys Mata, VP Sales Operations DIRECTV Puerto Rico. “Retaining exclusivity to NFL Sunday Ticket in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands reaffirms our commitment to strengthening the live sports we offer to families and businesses, and putting customers first is always the motivation to how we go about our daily business.”
That release notes that DTV acquired these rights from EverBird, the company founded by RedBird Capital Partners (also known for investments in the XFL and much more) and the NFL’s 32 Equity strategic investment arm. And yes, the DirecTV for Business deal extends to the continental U.S. as well, and was also already set up in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. But this deal is a nice resolution to the dispute that popped up earlier this week.
Another interesting thing here is how this particular agreement between the NFL and DirecTV comes while the sides aren’t exactly being friendly elsewhere. In particular, the league took the unusual step of blasting DTV for “deceptive advertising” Friday around the provider’s ads with Travis Kelce, which illustrate how it’s possible to buy Sunday Ticket through their YouTube app (and gain a rebate in the process). That feels like a stretch, especially given all the other Sunday Ticket promotions out there. But it’s still interesting to see those sides sparring on one front and coming to a deal on another one. And at least we won’t have a pudding strike this time.