DirecTV Scores Eight-Year Sunday Ticket Renewal

Deal May Be Worth As Much as $12B
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DirecTV, as expected, has inked a renewal with the NFL for its Sunday Ticket out-of-market package.

The eight-year deal goes into effect with the 2015 campaign and will continue to give the DBS provider’s subscribers access to all of the pro football league’s Sunday afternoon games.

The new agreement -- some sources say it averages as much as $1.5 billion annually, up from the $1 billion per year under the pact that expires with the conclusion of the 2014 campaign -- also expands DirecTV’s rights to stream Sunday Ticket live on mobile devices and via broadband platforms, under the previously announced NFL Sunday Ticket.TV imprint.

It was unclear at presstime if the pact would extend to AT&T U-verse customers, but presumably it does. The telco has a clause built into its proposal to buy DirecTV that would enable it to back out of the $48.5 billion deal, if the satellite leader didn’t come to terms with the NFL on a renewal.

Should the proposed union pass regulatory muster, Sunday Ticket might be available to some 26 million residential homes on a linear basis, up from DirecTV's current count of 20 million. Industry estimates peg DirecTV's residential Sunday Ticket roster at some 2 million.

The NFL deferred questions about AT&T to DirecTV, which could not be reached by presstime.

DirecTV will also continue to broadcast its Red Zone Channel and the new DirecTV Fantasy Channel, which it kicked off this year.

As part of the expensive extension, DirecTV subscribers also gain TV Everywhere access to the NFL Network

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

“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, president and CEO of DirecTV  “NFL Sunday Ticket has always been the centerpiece of DirecTV’s sports leadership and we’re pleased to continue our relationship with the NFL and be a part of the league’s future growth and success.”

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