Today it was reported by The Sports Business Journal that the NFL is researching dropping DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket in favor of a streaming option. Initially, the NFL had until this fall to decide to stick with DIRECTV’s Sunday Ticket through the 2022 season now through AT&T, and the NFL have agreed to push that deadline off until the spring of 2019.
According to reports NFL and AT&T, the owner of DirecTV, quietly agreed over the summer to move back the league’s option to end the deal early from this fall to next spring. As part of that agreement, the league allowed DIRECTV NOW to stream Sunday Ticket in seven markets: Boston, Hartford, Los Angeles, Louisville, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio as test markets, said a source familiar with the deal. (You do need a DIRECTV NOW subscription to get the streaming version of NFL Sunday Ticket in these markets.)
According to sources familiar with the deal, the NFL wants to analyze how much demand there is for a streaming option without the need for DIRECTV. Yet if this is meant to be a test, DIRECTV is not pushing it very hard. Cord Cutters News was one of the first to report on the streaming option of DIRECTV NOW but only because a reader told us about it. AT&T did not contact Cord Cutters News, and to our knowledge, very few national news groups ran the story. If this is a test for a national rollout, hopefully, they put some aggressive marketing for the streaming option in the markets that can get the streaming version.
If the AT&T does walk from their deal with AT&T and offer a direct to consumer option, it will not launch until the end of the 2019 season per their contract with AT&T.
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