DirecTV certainly fumbled the ball in the first week of its web-based offering of the NFL Sunday Ticket live game package.
The much-anticipated new option was supposed to allow football fans to access virtually every Sunday afternoon, NFL regular-season game on their laptop computers as easily and as effortlessly as they have on their big screen TVs since the mid 1990s.
And when I easily signed onto the SuperCast web service 15 minutes before the 1 p.m. kickoff of nine league games, I thought that the offering would prove to be worth the additional $99 fee that I had to pay to access the $299 Sunday Ticket games on the web.
By 1 p.m. the opening kickoff for the Atlanta Falcons-Minnesota Vikings game miraculously appeared on my screen.
I should have known then that it was too good to be true.
I was soon knocked off the service when I tried to switch to the Denver Broncos-Buffalo Bills game, and it wasn’t until 2:30 p.m. before I was able to get back into the service itself. Instead of quarterback blitzes, end around runs and diving catches, all I was able to see on my computer screen was a message from DirecTV saying, “We apologize as we are experiencing problems bringing you Supercast. Please check back in a few minutes.”
When I finally did get back into the service, the Philadelphia Eagles-Green Bay Packers game came up very clearly. Of course I had to temp fate and foolishly tried to catch the final two minutes before halftime of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cleveland Browns game.
Needless to say I never got to see it.
It took far too long for DirecTV to connect viewers from one game to another – if the connection was made at all. Also, the supposedly up-to-date score and time info under the Steelers-Browns game still read 2:17 minutes in the second quarter — even though the game had progressed well into the fourth quarter.
The scenario didn’t get much better for the 4 p.m. games. By 4:30 any subscribers trying to sign in to stream the Tampa Bay-Seattle, Chicago-San Diego and Detroit-Oakland games were blocked out due to “overwhelming demand,” according to DirecTV’s website.
DirecTV said it would open as many as 300,000 simultaneous streams for the package.
Obviously it wasn’t enough.
For the most part, DirecTV’s pro sports out-of-market subscription video game packages, including its NFL Sunday Ticket service, have been impeccable in its quality and delivery.
Too bad DirecTV has yet to replicate that experience in cyberspace.