Verizon's New DSL Game Plan: Free NFL Sunday Ticket

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In a blitz aimed at stopping DSL customers from switching to cable, Verizon is offering customers who sign up for certain triple-play bundles with DirecTV access to the satellite operator's NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market games package for the 2009 season at no extra charge.

Starting Wednesday, Verizon and DirecTV customers who sign up for a bundle with 3 or 7.1 Mbps downstream DSL, the Freedom Essentials calling plan, and DirecTV's Plus HD DVR for $119.99 per month for one year (after a rebate) will also get Sunday Ticket. The NFL games package, which offers up to 14 pro-football matchups per week, carries a retail value of $299.95.

The Sunday Ticket offer is also available to customers who take a standard-definition DirecTV DVR, for $109.99 per month (after rebate) for one year. In addition, customers who sign up for either bundle also will receive 12 months free access to Showtime (valued at $158.88) as well as a Compaq Mini netbook (valued at $299.99) or a Flip Ultra camcorder (valued at $149.99) through a promotion announced June 22 by Verizon.

The bundles require a one-year Verizon commitment and a two-year DirecTV agreement that includes hardware lease. Verizon expects the Sunday Ticket promotion to extend through September.

The promotional offers -- amounting to up to $750 worth of giveaways -- are intended to reverse the tide for Verizon on DSL, which still represents the bulk of its 9.1 million wireline broadband connections.

While FiOS continues to grow, with Verizon adding 300,000 TV and 303,000 Internet customers in the second quarter, the telco lost 117,000 DSL-based connections in the period. That came after it shed 46,000 in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, only 20% to 25% of those DSL defections represented upgrades to FiOS, according to Verizon chief financial officer John Killian, meaning most would have gone to cable competitors.

NFL Sunday Ticket offers up to 14 pro-football matchups games per week and more than 200 games in the season. DirecTV earlier this year paid the NFL $4 billion to extend the deal for the out-of-market games package through 2014.

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