DirecTV Sets New Deal for NFL Sunday Ticket with Digital Rights

DirecTV has reached a new multi-year agreement for its NFL Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market football games — a franchise so important to the satcaster that renewal of the deal became a make-or-break clause in DirecTV’s pending merger with AT&T.

Pact includes streaming rights to games on mobile devices that had been negotiated previously. DirecTV will also continue to carry its NFL Red Zone and NFL Fantasy Zone themed channels. The league’s NFL Network has also renewed its authentication deal for DirecTV’s TV Everywhere service. Specific financial terms of the pact were not disclosed, though a previous report in Sports Business Journal suggested the deal could mean annual revenue of $1,3 billion to $1.4 billion for the football league.

“This new agreement is a testament to the terrific long-term relationship we have with the NFL and its millions of fans across the country,” said Mike White, chairman-CEO of DirecTV. “We’re pleased to continue our relationship with the NFL and be a part of the league’s future growth and success.”

AT&T’s $48 billion takeover agreement for DirecTV includes fine print that gives the telco giant the right to walk away if DirecTV had not been able to renew the Sunday Ticket package. That’s an indication of how significant the pigskin offering is to DirecTV’s bottom line.

DirecTV and the league had been wrangling over new terms for months. The AT&T agreement undoubtedly gave the league some leverage, although in the end the satcaster likely would have ponied up to keep its marquee sports property, merger or no merger.

The NFL Sunday Ticket package is a football fan’s dream in offering subscribers access to view all Sunday NFL games outside of their home markets. It’s been a key premium service for DirecTV since the satcaster’s launch in 1994. DirecTV expanded on its linear TV platform with the NFL Sunday Ticket Max service for mobile devices. It also offers the Game Mix channel allowing the most ardent fans to opportunity watch eight games on one screen.. That Max service will also include a new DirectTV Fantasy Zone channel devoted entirely to fantasy football.

“DirecTV and NFL Sunday Ticket have served our fans well for 20 years and continue to complement our broadcast television packages,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “We also appreciate DirecTV’s commitment to NFL Network, which it has carried since the channel launched in 2003.”

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