In an effort to create greater awareness of its successful"NFL Sunday Ticket" package, DirecTv Inc. is rolling out an unprecedented
marketing campaign that will offer free programming to new subscribers.
The offer will provide consumers who purchase a DirecTv
direct-broadcast satellite system and who order the 200-game National Football League
package between Aug. 5 and Oct. 11 more than $200 of free programming from the company,
said Tom Bracken, vice president of advertising for DirecTv. The offer includes four
months of "Total Choice" programming and more than $8 in programming
While DirecTv has previously offered discounts on its $159
NFL Sunday Ticket retail price, this promotion ups the ante by giving away, for the first
time, free programming to entice package sales.
"We think that this will drive a lot of people to
purchase [DirecTv], as well as to bring in new subscribers to the category," Bracken
The NFL package is by far DirecTv's most lucrative
professional out-of-market-game package, although Bracken declined to reveal buy-rates.
Industry sources, however, have estimated that NFL Sunday Ticket pulls in about a 10
percent buy-rate each year.
To further enhance the appeal of the package, DirecTv is
running an extensive, national advertising campaign featuring several of the league's
top stars, including John Elway, Brett Favre, Troy Aikman and Jerry Rice.
The campaign emphasizes consumer choice by comparing
choosing an NFL game to watch with buying groceries. The ads feature the stars sitting in
a supermarket deli case, being pushed around in shopping carts by customers and eventually
being purchased and packaged with the rest of the groceries.
DirecTv will run the ads on broadcast-network, cable and
independent stations over a five-week period beginning Aug. 5, Bracken said. The service
will also run print ads in several national consumer and sports magazines, including Sports
Illustrated and The Sporting News.
"From an NFL Sunday Ticket standpoint, it's the
biggest effort that we've made to date," Bracken said. "We felt that this
campaign had very broad appeal, and we wanted to convey [the option of watching any NFL
game] in a simple, but humorous, manner. The shopping analogy made the most sense."
DirecTv, however, won't go to the same promotional
lengths for its other out-of-market packages, including "MLB Extra Innings"
(Major League Baseball), "NHL Center Ice" (National Hockey League), "NBA
League Pass (National Basketball Association), "ESPN/ABC College Football" and
"ESPN Full Court" (college basketball).
"I think that the NFL is a unique situation because it
has such broad appeal. We'll do other sports-package promotions, but I doubt that
we'll do them to the degree that we've done with the NFL," Bracken said.