Sports

DirecTV Pumps Up ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ Streams

Satellite-TV subs get free online access, college effort expanded 9/12/2016 8:00 AM Eastern
DirecTV is giving fans of pro football stars like the carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (pictured) more opportunities to watch NFL Sunday Ticket on mobile devices.
Credit: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images
TakeAway

DirecTV is using the Internet to expand the reach of its “NFL Sunday Ticket” out-of-market game package.

DirecTV is hoping to better reach gridiron fans everywhere they watch video through an enhanced streaming “NFL Sunday Ticket” out-of-market package.

 

This year’s improvements to Sunday Ticket — including, for the first time, full digital streaming access to every game as part of the $269 base subscription — is a nod to fans’ increased interest in watching games on their mobile devices. (In previous years, DirecTV charged an additional $90 fee to stream games.)

 

“We think, based on the trends and where everything is headed, giving our customers the option of watching games on TV and then a second game on a phone or a tablet or computer is really a great service to our customers,” Robert Stecklow, DirecTV general manager of sports and sponsorships, told Multichannel News.

 

Also, after offering its $99 NFL Sunday Ticket streaming-only service to college student at select universities, DirecTV this season will offer virtually all college students attending two-year and four-year colleges access to the package, said Stecklow.

 

More than half of NFL Sunday Ticket new subscriber sales are to college students, he said, and DirecTV launched targeted social media ads focused on reaching college students on numerous campuses.

 

This season, the online streaming package can be accessed on the new generation of Apple TV devices, as well as Amazon’s Fire Stick media player. The service is already available on such video-streaming devices as Google’s Chromecast, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

 

DirecTV has also enhanced its NFL Sunday Ticket mobile app by providing full screen access to games upon the app’s opening. Tablet users will also have access to picture-in-picture mode, Stecklow said, allowing them to watch a game while accessing other services.

 

“We’re always looking to perfect and refine what we believe to be the best sports subscription product out there,” Stecklow said.

 

Streaming usage for the NFL Sunday Ticket package has grown year to year, though most satellite customers still prefer to watch games on their big-screen TVs, he said.

 

“We know a lot of people can’t be home when the games are taking place, so there is a good use case for it and we’ve seen more and more of our customers adopting that behavior,” Stecklow said.

 

Despite the heavy focus on streaming, Stecklow he doesn’t believe the NFL Sunday Ticket package will become a predominately Internet-based product in the near future. The streaming service is intended for consumers who can’t put up a satellite dish to subscribe to DirecTV.

 

“I think they will both coexist,” he said. “Our satellite customers are by far the biggest customers who access the content, and viewing on TV is still by far the No. 1 way they do it.”

 

Still, more live NFL games will be available via digital and streaming this year than in years past. Social-media platform Twitter will stream 10 Thursday Night Football games alongside NFL Network, CBS and NBC. That’s in addition to live streaming of NBC’s Sunday Night Football games and ESPN Monday Night Football telecasts available via WatchESPN.

 

Verizon Wireless customers will also have access to weekly local live NFL games as part of their cellular plan.

 

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Cable viewers can catch primetime NFL action on Mondays and Thursdays this season:

ESPN ‘Monday Night Football’ Schedule
Date                                 Game
Sept. 12 . . . Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins
                     Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Sept. 19 . . . . . .  Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Sept. 26 . . . . .   Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Oct. 3 . . . . . . .  New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Oct. 10 . . . . Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Oct. 17 . . . . . . . . New York Jets at Arizona Cardinals
Oct. 24 . . . . . . . . Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Oct. 31 . . . . . . .  Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Nov. 7 . . . . . . . . . . Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks
Nov. 14 . . . . . .  Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants
Nov. 21 . . . . . . . .Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders
Nov. 28 . . . . . Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
Dec. 5 . . . . . . . . . Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
Dec. 12 . . . . .Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Dec. 19 . . . . .Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins
Dec. 26 . . . . . . . . Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys

 

NFL Network ‘Thursday Night Football’ Schedule
Date                           Game                                                          Other distribution outlets
Sept. 15 . . . . . . . . . New York Jets at Buffalo Bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CBS, Twitter
Sept. 22 . . . .  Houston Texans at New England Patriots . . . . . . . . .CBS, Twitter
Sept. 29 . . . . . . Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Oct. 6 . . . . . .  Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers . . . . . . . . . CBS, Twitter
Oct. 13 . . . . . .  Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers . . . . . . . . . . CBS, Twitter
Oct. 20 . . . . . . .  Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers . . . . . . . . . . CBS, Twitter
Oct. 27 . . . . .  Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Nov. 3 . . . . . . Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov. 10 . . . . . .  Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Nov. 17 . . . . .  New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers . . . . . . . . .NBC, Twitter
Dec. 1 . . . . . . . .Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings . . . . . . . . . . NBC, Twitter
Dec. 8 . . . . . . . Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs . . . . . . . . . .NBC, Twitter
Dec. 15 . . . . . . Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks . . . . . . . . . NBC, Twitter
Dec. 17 . . . .  Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (Saturday)
Dec. 22 . . . . . . New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles . . . . . . . . . . NBC, Twitter
Dec. 24 . . Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (Saturday)

SOURCES: ESPN, NFL Network

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