×

AT&T CEO Expects DirecTV to Keep NFL Sunday Ticket Exclusively

AT&T believes it will hang on to DirecTV’s exclusive rights for the NFL Sunday Ticket, even as the league has said it’s considering ending the satellite operator’s exclusivity to extend the out-of-home games package to streaming platforms.

“The exclusivity [of Sunday Ticket] should remain as we go forward on DirecTV,” AT&T CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson said on the company’s Q1 earnings call Wednesday. “We’re heavily invested in the NFL on DirecTV.”

Sunday Ticket first launched 25 years ago on DirecTV, and it’s the only place to (legally) watch all of the NFL’s regular-season Sunday daytime match-ups. The price for DirecTV subscribers for the regular NFL Sunday Ticket package for the 2018 season was $293.94.

AT&T’s Stephenson also addressed the issue of the telco dropping NFL Network from DirecTV Now and U-verse TV earlier this month, after carriage deals for the network on those services expired April 15.

“When you look at the NFL Network, there are some costs attached to that,” Stephenson said. He added that many of the games on NFL Network as well as its coverage of the NFL draft are available on other network, so “the NFL Network didn’t really make sense to carry” on U-verse and DirecTV Now — neither of which is permitted under the NFL pact to offer Sunday Ticket. The NFL Network remains on DirecTV’s satellite service.

DirecTV’s current deal for Sunday Ticket extends through the 2019 NFL season. The talks on the football package come as AT&T in the first quarter of 2019 lost a whopping 544,000 net subscribers for DirecTV and U-verse TV, to stand at 22.4 million at quarter’s end (down 2.4% quarter-over-quarter). It also dropped a net 83,000 subs from DirecTV Now, which declined 5.2% in the period to 1.5 million.

Last month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Bloomberg interview that the league wanted to expand the distribution of Sunday Ticket to online platforms in addition to DirecTV. “We’re looking to make sure that we continue to deliver this package, which is a premium package of great content,” he said. “We want it delivered on several different platforms.”

AT&T also has offered a streaming-only version of NFL Sunday Ticket, but only to non-DirecTV customers who are college students or live somewhere in the U.S. where DirecTV satellite service is not available (like apartments and other multidwelling-unit buildings).

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content